BBB: Coronavirus price gouging is up, consumers should report inflated prices

MILWAUKEE -- Price gouging is up over the past week as communities across North America react to COVID-19, according to the Better Business Bureau.

According to a press release, BBB has seen an increase in complaints from consumers about price gouging for critical items such as bottled water, hand sanitizer, face masks, and food supplies as “social distancing” restrictions go to effect in many locations.

Consumers are urged to report price gouging at The nonprofit organization says it will follow up with companies that have inflated prices in the wake of the crisis and will work with attorneys general and other appropriate agencies to address particularly egregious cases.

Although the legal definition of price gouging varies by jurisdiction, BBB says raising prices to an unreasonable extent beyond a business’s own increased costs is a violation of its Standards for Trust, which encourages businesses to build trust through honesty, transparency, and integrity. BBB suggests business owners and managers use its Standards for Trust as best practices for operating under the current restrictions (

The BBB adapted it standards for marketplace trust to the coronavirus pandemic:

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