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Analysis of Kentucky Price-Gouging Case against Amazon Sellers

Analysis of Kentucky Price-Gouging Case against Amazon Sellers

When Kentucky’s Attorney General accused Amazon sellers of violating the state’s anti price-gouging laws during the pandemic, he faced a legal setback, but that’s not stopping him.

In March of 2020, Attorney General Daniel Cameron issued subpoenas to six third-party sellers in Kentucky who sold on Amazon during the pandemic. “The sellers allegedly engaged in the price gouging of essential emergency and medical supplies, including hand sanitizer and N95 respirator masks. Some sellers inflated the price of these items by as much as 1,951 percent when marketing to consumers,” he alleged in a press release at the time.

As we reported 5 months later, a federal judge ruled that the AG violated the U.S. Constitution when he launched the wave of investigations of third-party sellers.

Law360 published an update and in-depth analysis this week.

“The Kentucky case is expected to address not only state enforcers’ ability to rein in those who exploit the pandemic but also the limits state attorneys general face going after online sellers whose wares cross state lines, a subject that raises constitutional questions,” Law360 wrote.

The publication said the Sixth Circuit will hear oral arguments today in the case that dozens of state enforcers say poses a serious threat to their ability to protect consumers.

The case is crucial: an attorney told Law360 there were thousands of AG probes into pandemic price-gouging, “the fruits of which will be emerging for years to come.”

Normally behind a paywall, Law360 is providing free access to its coronavirus coverage, so you can read all about the case on Law360.com.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.