As concerns over the growing pandemic, Covid-19 increase, many people are being struck with the sad reality that supplies have become scare or gone entirely. Many consumers have been panic buying much more than they need, leaving others with no way to obtain the items needed to sustain themselves and their families during the coming days. Another popular tactic is overbuying with the intent to resell necessary items, well above fair market value. This is known as price gouging, leading desperate people to pay two times or more beyond what a product is actually worth. Victims of such situations are left wondering if price gouging is considered legal under Colorado law.
While it seems absurd, unethical, and cold-hearted that anyone would capitalize off of the suffering of other humans, Colorado currently offers no protection from such behaviors under the law. Basically, price gouging is seen as an opportunity for capitalism and remains fully legal under the law. While the majority of states now offer protection from price gouging (particularly during incidents of natural disasters or other emergencies) this is not the case within every state. Each state determines their stance on price gouging individually.
Is There Any Hope?
While price gouging is technically legal in Colorado, that does not mean those in leadership don’t care. Strides are being taken to ensure residents are aware of scams and do not fall victim to this despicable act of fraud.
In particular, the Attorney General’s office is seeking to help eliminate these behaviors, working hand and hand with Amazon to reduce the threat of victimization and educate consumers about price gouging and how to avoid these scams.
Despite no laws directly prohibiting price gouging, the Attorney General’s office is seeking to fight back against this unethical practice, asking for reports to be made of any known scams. The office intends to continue exercising awareness towards any incident of scamming, subsequently addressing situations in the best way possible using existing laws. The end goal is to educate consumers, lessen the possibility of price gouging, and bring accountability to those taking advantage of the misfortune of others.
It is clear these laws must be revisited and amended to protect Colorado’s most vulnerable. The elderly and disabled are the ones most impacted by the virus and are sadly also the most likely to be scammed as they are often overlooked and unable to secure appropriate supplies.
If you become aware of price gouging scams occurring in Colorado, do your due diligence to report these actions to the Attorney General’s office immediately. Price gouging may be “legal”, but it pulls precious supplies from those who need them most. Do your part to look out for your fellowman during life’s most difficult seasons!