Assemblymember Kansen Chu and Other California Legislators Urge Largest Online Retailers to Adopt Stricter Anti-Price Gouging Policies

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

(SACRAMENTO, CA) – Today, Assemblymember Kansen Chu submitted a letter signed by him and 27 of his legislative colleagues addressed to the CEOs of Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, Facebook and Walmart urging the companies to take on stricter price gouging policies to prevent exploitative practices during emergencies. Specifically, the letter requested the five companies adopt:

  • Caps on price increases during emergencies to prevent exorbitant price increases based on a 90-day average of the item’s price before the emergency began.
  • Price gouging protections independent of, or prior to an emergency declaration including taking action when the company’s systems detect pricing spikes.
  • Create and maintain a “Fair Pricing” page/portal where consumers can report price-gouging incidents to the company directly.

“Everyday consumers like you and I are being taken advantage of during a time of intense stress and uncertainty,” said Assemblymember Kansen Chu (D-San Jose). “Caring for ourselves and loved ones during this time is stressful enough. We should not have to worry about online sellers taking advantage of our desperate need for supplies. I am urging the five largest online retailers to do more by taking necessary actions to protect consumers from these exploitative practices.”

“Californians are already worried about their health and the health of their loved ones during this pandemic. They shouldn’t also have to worry about being ripped off on the critical supplies they need to get through it,” said Claudia Deeg, California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) Education Fund Associate. “We’re grateful for the leadership of our legislators who are standing up for consumers during this crisis. Elected officials shouldn’t wait any longer to investigate how online platforms may be enabling price gouging.”

Assemblymember Chu and his colleagues are making this request of CEOs on the heels of Governor Newsom announcing Executive Order N-44-20 which extended the price gouging protections in existing law until September 4, 2020. In addition, the executive order specifically stated a person or entity shall not – from April 4, 2020 until September 4, 2020 – sell or offer to sell any item included in the order at a price that is more than 10 percent greater than the highest price charged by that person or entity for that item on February 4, 2020.

These letters to CEOs mirror the intent of letters the Attorney General of California and 32 other Attorneys General sent the same CEOs on March 25th.

If you have been the victim of price gouging, or have information regarding potential price gouging, immediately file a complaint through the State Attorney General’s Office at oag.ca.gov/report, call the Attorney General’s Office at (800)952-5225 or call local law enforcement.

Assemblymember Kansen Chu is proud to represent the 25th Assembly District, comprised of the Cities of Fremont, Milpitas, Newark, Santa Clara and San Jose.

CONTACT: Annie Pham, (916) 319-2025

Press Release PDF

Letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon

Letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Letter to Craigslist CEO Jim Buckmaster

Letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Letter to eBay CEO Scott Scott Schenkel 

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