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Deschutes DA vows ‘zero tolerance’ for any COVID-19 price gouging

Urges those who see excessive pricing to contact state Dept. of Justice

BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel on Sunday vowed "zero tolerance" of COVID-19-related price gouging and urged anyone who experiences excessive prices to call a state hotline.

Oregon law authorizes district attorneys to take action to restrain a person from engaging in the unlawful trade practice of price gouging on consumer goods essential to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Hummel said in a news release.

But before prosecutors can do so, he said, the governor must declare an “abnormal disruption of the market” (pursuant to ORS 401.965(5)).

Hummel said he was in touch Sunday with Gov. Kate Brown’s office and was told she's still monitoring the market to determine if an “abnormal disruption of the market” is occurring. 

To that end, Hummel said, the governor has encouraged all consumers who believe they have experienced excessive pricing to call the state Department of Justice's consumer protection hotline at 1-877-877-9392. 

The DOJ will monitor this line in real time and will reach out to the governor if she believes excessive pricing is occurring, so she can act to make the necessary “abnormal disruption of the market” declaration, Hummel said.   

“I encourage anyone who experiences excessive pricing of goods related to COVID-19 to immediately call the DOJ’s Consumer Protection hotline at 1-877-877-9392," Hummel said in a statement.

"If the governor determines an ‘abnormal disruption of the market’ exists in Deschutes County, and makes such a declaration, I will have a zero tolerance policy toward offenders," he added.

"If you’re putting our community at risk in order to make a buck during a time of crisis, in addition to rotting in hell, you’ll face the full weight of the legal power granted to me by the people of Oregon,” the DA said.  

Article Topic Follows: Crime And Courts

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