A local convenience store landed in hot water with the Pennsylvania attorney general’s office this week after it charged customers $20 for 500 ml bottles of “Chinese Letter Hand Sanitizer.”
Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced in a news release Wednesday that Quick Stop Mini Mart, 701 N. Seventh St., Allentown, capitalized on a shortage of product created by the coronavirus pandemic and committed illegal price gouging by selling it at an inflated price.
The mini mart admitted to having committed price gouging in a settlement agreement with the state that was filed in the Lehigh County Court of Common Pleas.
The agreement identifies the owner of the store as Mukesh Patel, requires the business to pay a $500 fine and orders that $840 in restitution be made to consumers who were fleeced.
“We won’t tolerate illegal price gouging during this emergency, and we’re taking action every day to stop it–here in Allentown and across Pennsylvania,” Shapiro said. “Pennsylvanians need security and financial protection right now, especially when so many have lost wages and 30 percent are out of work.”
“You have a right in Pennsylvania to purchase life-saving goods at reasonable prices in times like these,” he added. “If you see suspicious price increases on products like groceries and medicine, I encourage you to email email@example.com and fill out a complaint form so we can put a stop to price gouging.”
Shapiro noted that Quick Stop Mini Mart agreed to fully comply with all provisions of the Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Law and Price Gouging Act moving forward.
Consumers who purchased the hand sanitizer and would like to receive restitution should file a consumer complaint form with the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General and attach a copy of their receipt showing that they purchased it between March 6 and May 27. The deadline for filing a complaint is July 27, 2020.