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DEFENDERS: Price gouging complaints reach nearly 1,000 in Missouri

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (KMIZ)

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt confirms his office is investigating 951 price gouging complaints related to COVID-19.

The number of consumer complaints has increased every week since mid-March when ABC 17 News started monitoring the data. The number of complaints reported on April 10 are 30 times higher than they were on March 17.

"We're particularly sensitive to household items like toilet paper, cleaning supplies, and medical supplies like masks," Schmitt said. "When we see these masks being charged ten times what they normally would be, we're going to take action."

Schmitt said his office is seeing price gouging complaints from all over the state not just in the metropolitan cities. A majority of the complaints related to COVID-19 are coming from secondary markets online.

Some of the top complaints the AG's office sees with COVID-19 include food/drink, paper supplies, cleaning supplies, medical supplies and gas/fuel.

"Gas prices have fluctuated a lot recently. There's a lot less expensive gas now that it was before," Schmitt said. "We do see some variations in the marketplace but I think it's important to know eggs, milk things like that, there is going to be supply and demand issues. There's going to be market fluctuations but we're looking for those outliers, and particularly in those sensitive areas."

The AG's Office says it will watch for and encourages the public to report any price gouging.

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Deborah Kendrick

Deborah is a weekday evening anchor and investigative reporter for ABC 17 News.

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