State names first batch of companies in price-gouging complaints

    N95sales.com Image
    Image, now removed, from N95sales.com, retrieved from Google image search.

    Cease-and-desist letters have been sent to 16 companies accused of price-gouging amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) announced on Wednesday, March 25.

    The state’s price-gouging law, which bars companies from price increases exceeding 15% during a time of economic disruption, was triggered by the March 12 executive order signed by Gov. Tony Evers declaring a state public-health emergency as a result of the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

    Among the recipients is a company called N95Sales.com, “which engaged in suspected price gouging on N95 masks, a critical item for front-line health care workers that is in short supply in Wisconsin,” DATCP said in a statement.

    A Google search on the company’s name showed evidence of its past presence on the internet, but the URL now leads to an unclaimed Shopify account. Image searches found pictures that appeared to have been on a company’s website.

    Other recipients ranged from local stores to chain stores, including Walgreens, Menards and Walmart. Products named in the letters included toilet paper, bleach, bottled water and foodstuffs. 

    A list of the outlets and the products involved in the complaints against them is here.

    Consumers suspecting price gouging can file a complaint by downloading a form at https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/DownloadConsumerComplaintForm.aspx and then emailing the completed form to [email protected].

    Erik Gunn
    Senior Reporter Erik Gunn reports and writes on work and the economy, along with related subjects, for the Wisconsin Examiner. He spent 24 years as a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine, Isthmus, The Progressive, BNA Inc., and other publications, winning awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, beat coverage, business writing, and commentary. An East Coast native, he previously covered labor for The Milwaukee Journal after reporting for newspapers in upstate New York and northern Illinois. He's a graduate of Beloit College (English Comp.) and the Columbia School of Journalism. Off hours he is the Examiner's resident Springsteen and Jackson Browne fanboy and model railroad nerd.