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Michigan attorney general sends cease and desist letter to Menards for price gouging

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order over the weekend that addressed price gouging.

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Attorney General's Office sent a cease and desist letter to Menards Tuesday after the office received 18 complaints for consumers about face masks, bleach and other products being sold at high prices. 

"Investigators from the Attorney General’s office have found that Menards appears to be exploiting public fear about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) through a systematic effort of raising prices," a news release from Attorney General Dana Nessel said. 

Investigators found the store was doubling the price of cleaning products like bleach and raised the price of face masks, connecting it to an in-store rebate, the attorney general's office said. 

Customers started making complaints to the state early last week, including one customer from the South Haven location

“Big box stores are not immune to the Michigan Consumer Protection Act or the Governor’s Executive Order,” Attorney General Dana Nessel said. “Large corporations must also play by the rules, and my office will work diligently to ensure this state’s consumers are treated fairly and not abused by businesses seeking to unlawfully jack prices up to line their pockets with profits at the expense of the public during this time of great need.” 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order over the weekend that addressed price gouging by enhancing restrictions.  

RELATED: Whitmer signs order enhancing restrictions on price gouging

Menards will have 10 days to respond to the cease and desist, and state officials will continue to investigate and potentially take legal action. 

As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 17, the attorney general's office received a total of 363 complaints with the majority of those being submitted since Friday afternoon. 

Michigan residents are urged to report any violation of the Consumer Protection Act online or by calling 877-765-8388. The hotline hours have been extended to be open until 11 p.m. 

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