Coronavirus: LA City Attorney files charges against companies accused of inflating prices for N95 masks

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said on Tuesday his office filed criminal charges against two companies accused of inflating prices for N95 masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"We filed two cases and there will be more to come," Feuer said.

"Price gouging is literally unconscionable at this moment when there is so much fear in our communities and such demand for important products."

According to Feuer, price gouging means an item is being sold for more than 10% of what it sold for before the coronavirus emergency.

"We need, as a community, to be looking out for each other. The last thing we need is to have people taking advantage of people's legitimate fears and concerns right now."

While discussing the cases with ABC7, Feuer also sent a warning to anyone who would attempt to price gouge.

"We're working closely with Amazon, which is letting us know about instances in which prices have been allegedly inflated by more than 10% since the emergency took place, and we're going to take action, as we have in these cases."

Feuer said Amazon is helping by identifying who third-party sellers are online, and letting his office know what the price sellers offered for items before the emergency so they can compare it to the price offered later.

Feuer also warned consumers about companies who are offering any coronavirus home testing kits for sale, adding that no home testing kits are currently FDA approved.

"When it comes to a home testing kit, for instance, if someone is using a kit that they think is FDA approved, it might not lead them to be taking other important precautions. And what if the test ostensibly reveals that they are negative, when in fact that's not true? So, this is a really critical work we're doing right now."
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