California Gov. Gavin Newsom outlaws price gouging on at-home COVID-19 tests
California is expanding testing sites and distributing millions of COVID-19 antigen tests
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed an executive order intended to clamp down on price gouging of at-home COVID-19 test kits.
Signed over the weekend, the order prohibits sellers from increasing prices on the kits by more than 10%. It also gives more resources to state and local law enforcement to act against price gougers.
That same day, California Attorney General Rob Bonta issued a statewide consumer alert.
"Californians are doing their part to confront this challenge – whether by caring for loved ones, getting vaccinated, or working on the front lines – and they shouldn’t have to worry about being cheated while dealing with the effects of coronavirus," Bonta said in a press release.
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Per the governor’s executive order, Bonta said, sellers who have not previously sold at-home COVID-19 test kits may not sell testing kits for a price that is greater than 50% of what the seller paid to get the testing kit.
Any violation of the executive order would constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $1,000 or imprisonment of up to six months, or both.
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The governor’s directive came after the Democratic governor proposed a $2.7 billion COVID-19 Emergency Response Package. More than a third of that will go towards expanding testing sites and distributing millions of COVID-19 antigen tests to local health departments and clinics, according to a press release from the governor’s office.