OAG announces settlement with Virginia company accused of COVID-19 price gouging
Falls Church-based Rio Medical Supplies is being held accountable for alleged violations of the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act.
A complaint from the Office of Attorney General alleges that Rio Medical Supplies charged $59.99 per bottle for 1,000-ml bottles of hand sanitizer during the period between March 14 and March 23, a price level that represented a 20 percent increase from the prices at which it offered the product for sale before the COVID-19 emergency was declared.
Attorney General Mark Herring announced this week that his office had reached a settlement in which Rio Medical Supplies agrees to pay $2,500 in civil penalties and attorneys’ fees, and also has disgorged $1,646.40 in profits made from the 32 offending sales.
Consumers who purchased hand sanitizer from Rio Medical Supplies during the period from March 14 to March 23 should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section for reimbursement of excess charges they paid.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented economic hardships for Virginians, and no one should have to worry about businesses unreasonably increasing prices on necessary goods, but especially during a time of such uncertainty,” Herring said. “For over a year now, my team and I have been working hard to combat price gouging in the Commonwealth and I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish to hold those who have taken advantage of this state of emergency accountable.”
During the COVID-19 emergency, the OAG has received more than 500 complaints and e-mails alleging possible price gouging activity and has sent more than 150 investigative letters to businesses.
The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Falls Church Circuit Court.