Price gouging: Springfield business tries to sell overpriced N95 masks

Coronavirus

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — There is concern that a local business in Springfield is asking for too much money, price gouging, to buy an N95 respirator mask.

Ozarks First viewer called to report the business was charging nearly three times what a mask would have cost before the COVID-19 pandemic.

We emailed the company and called the franchise several times to get an interview, but, unfortunately, no one responded.

Reporter Madison Hever did get to speak with a Springfield resident, Clint Lathrop, and he said he thought about buying one of the masks, but decided against it.

“I saw it all over the news. Governor Cuomo (NY) was talking about pay seven bucks for a mask was ridiculous well they’re charging twice that much. A lot of people, unfortunately, when they see a chance to profit off people’s fears, they’re going to do that,” Lathrop said. “They won’t get my business again. I have no reason to help them when things are easy; it’s when times are tough when we find out who we really are.”

The masks are being sold for $12.99 at the business.

Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt’s Press Secretary, Chris Nuelle, explains that price gouging laws are much different from other states. While some states have a specific percentage increase that is illegal, the Show-Me State does not.

“Missouri’s price gouging laws are much different from other states,” said Nuelle. “Some states have a specific percentage increase that’s illegal, we do not. It’s purely case by case discretion by the AGO. We’re really looking at substantial increases, and that can vary product by product.”

This illegal act, according to the press secretary, is purely case-by-case discretion by AGO. Each case is examined for substantial increases, and that can vary product by product.

The attorney general asks Missourians to contact his office if they suspect someone might be price gouging.

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