Better Business Bureau warns of price gouging; provides tips of reporting

The Better Business Bureau is warning residents of price gouging.

Price gouging is a term referring to when a seller spikes the prices of goods, services or commodities to a level much higher than is considered reasonable or fair and is considered exploitative, potentially to an unethical extent. 

With the potential spread of COVID-19, the Better Business Bureau have begun to receive reports of price gouging. The BBB released the following statement on Wednesday afternoon:

“As government officials, news outlets and health officials are keeping the public appraised of the COVID-19 situation, we are receiving reports from consumers stating that they are finding the cost of high-demand items, such as hand sanitizers, tissues, face masks and other products. skyrocketing.  For this reason, the Louisiana BBBs (Lafayette, Lake Charles, Shreveport, Baton Rouge & New Orleans), in conjunction with the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office have created a singular Facebook group as a tool and resource for ALL Louisiana residents to post/share suspected price gouging that they witness out in their community.”

The Facebook group is titled “Price Gouging in Louisiana” and the statement stated that “a representative from each Louisiana BBB (service area) assisting us in moderating this page and its content. The crowd-sourced, consumer-submitted information gathered here will help us identify problem areas in our communities and the cumulative information shared on this page can be used as an awareness resource for all consumers.”

The Better Business Bureau is also requesting that if you suspect anyone of price gouging, especially during a declared state of emergency, then you should report to the BBB by going to Individuals can also report those activities to the state attorney general’s office 

The BBB also recommends to follow these helpful tips when making a report of alleged price gouging.

• Be as specific about the transaction as possible, including the name and address of the business, names of any employees involved, and information detailing the spike in pricing.

• Gather together documentation supporting the price gouging (receipts, photos of products and their advertised pricing, invoices, etc.)

• Compare pricing of similar products with other sellers in the area as well as online.  It’s important to note similarities and differences between brands, size/quantity, manufacturers, model numbers, and prices.

BBB also warns businesses to avoid the temptation to raise prices during a situation such as a pandemic because it is illegal to do so in Louisiana and because it erodes marketplace trust. 

BBB Serving Acadiana services the parishes of Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, and Vermilion.