Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General has shut down price gouging efforts at Spruce Food Market in Philadelphia.
The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General entered into an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with Spruce Food Market after receiving tips that the store was selling hand sanitizer for unlawful prices. OAG’s investigation found Spruce Food Market sold approximately 103 units of hand sanitizer for as much as $15.99 for an 8 oz. bottle.
“Since the start of the public health emergency in Pennsylvania, my office has been working to stop price gouging wherever it happened. Ripping off people for hand sanitizer when they need it most is not only wrong, it’s illegal,” Attorney General Shapiro said.
Under the Price Gouging Act, a price increase of more than 20 percent during a declared state of emergency is considered price gouging. The AVC requires Spruce Food Market to pay $5,150 in civil penalties, in addition to restitution of $796.93 for consumers who purchased the hand sanitizer. Spruce Food Market also agreed to fully comply with all provisions of the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law and Price Gouging Act moving forward.
Consumers who purchased hand sanitizer from Spruce Food Market may be eligible for restitution if they paid more than they should have. In order to be considered for restitution, consumers should file a consumer complaint form and attach a copy of their receipt showing they purchased the hand sanitizer between March 6, 2020, and July 24, 2020. Complaints must be submitted by Sept. 21, 2020 to be considered.