Why no anti-gouging law in Arizona?

Consumers still paying more for necessities
Why no anti-gouging law in Arizona?
Posted at 9:11 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-22 08:38:02-04

Months into the COVID-19 crisis, necessities like hand sanitizer, masks and even toilet paper are still hard to find on many grocery store shelves..

You can find them other places if you want to play a lot more.

It's called price gouging and in some cases, its being seen for crucial items like medical equipment.

So why is there no specific anti-gouging law in Arizona?

As part of The Rebound Arizona team, we're asking legislators and government officials to tell us why no law.

Over the last couple of months, we've confronted a few people who were selling things like hand sanitizer for much more than regular prices.

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says he pushed repeatedly for lawmakers to implement an anti-gouging law years ago.

He was concentrating on even bigger issues.

At that time, he says a broken gas pipeline enabled some stations to gouge consumers on gas prices.

He says "the defense was always the market economy will take care of it. It's really a matter of supply and demand, and it's not."

Goddard says these crisis situations are different and it's when the law is really needed.

Arizona is one of 14 states without a specific anti-gouging law.

Of those state's that do have one, it usually kicks in during states of emergency like the one we're facing now here.

And many of the laws do limit price increases of household goods and commodities.

Goddard says he couldn't prosecute without a law to back him up.

Current Attorney General Mark Brnovich has said the same thing.

So I asked his office if he is urging lawmakers to pass an anti-gouging law.

I didn't get a yes or no answer.

But I did get an email saying in part "our office provided feedback to staff and members of the Legislature when inquiries were posed regarding potential price gouging legislation. We will continue to aggressively enforce Arizona’s existing consumer protection laws with the authority that we have."

I asked the Governor's office about a law.

They sent an email saying in part "we are working" to prevent price gouging" of medical supplies.

They say current law makes it illegal for a person to use unfair or deceptive practices.

And they pointed to a Governor's executive order that targets gouging involving Covid-19 diagnosis or treatment.

I contacted Senate President Karen Fann and House Speaker Russell Bowers but they did not respond in time for this story.

Legislators are on recess.

So, there is no specific gouging law and it appears, none in the works.

Click here to contact your lawmakers about anti-gouging legislation.