AG Schmidt Wants Anti-Gouging Law Expanded

States need authority to enforce anti-price gouging laws against online sellers just they do against in-state brick-and-mortar businesses, according to Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt and 29 other attorneys general.

The group told a federal appeals court that such laws are essential during emergencies, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, to protect residents.

They’re asking the appeals court to overturn a lower-court decision that blocked Kentucky from enforcing its anti-price gouging law against retailers that sell products on Amazon.

In Kansas, the state anti-price gouging law is in effect only during a declared state of disaster emergency, and prohibits what the law calls profiteering from a disaster.

The Kansas anti-profiteering law, which is enforced by the attorney general and county and district attorneys, generally prohibits unjustifiably raising prices for necessary goods and services for which consumer demand is likely to increase because of the virus outbreak.

It carries a penalty of up to $10,000 per violation. It is only in effect during a disaster declaration.