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West Michigan business profiting off of COVID-19 fears, attorney general says

The business is selling individual face masks packaged in Ziploc bags for $10.

LANSING, Mich. — A West Michigan business is profiting off of people's fears about the COVID-19 virus, and Attorney General Dana Nessel is warning the seller that price-gouging is illegal. 

"Those who think they can profit off the rising fears about coronavirus need to think again," she said in a press release. 

The attorney general's office said the True Value in Alledale Township was selling individual face masks packaged in Ziploc bags for $10. 

Nessel said the Michigan Consumer Protection Act makes price-gouging illegal and gives her office the tools to use against profiteers who fuel panic by manipulating prices and supplies. 

“I will not hesitate to bring the hammer down on any person or business that uses this public health threat to feed their own greed,” Nessel said. 

The retailer's actions may be a violation of the act, according to the attorney general's office. Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold and causing coercion and duress as a result of the time and nature of a sales presentation are both unlawful, according to the attorney general's office. 

While there are no cases of the novel virus in Michigan, Nessel said she hopes the Michigan community can come together at the beginning of a "potentially difficult situation." 

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"It is my sincere hope that we will all pull together and help protect the most vulnerable among us," Nessel said.


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