State cracks down on COVID-19 coronavirus-related price gouging


State regulators said Wednesday that they've sent cease-and-desist letters to 16 companies suspected of illegally raising prices amid the coronavirus outbreak.

The Department of Trade, Agriculture and Consumer Protection said the action comes after fielding dozens of complaints and doing price checks at more than 100 Wisconsin stores.

One of the companies receiving a letter is , "which engaged in suspected price gouging on N95 masks, a critical item for front-line health care workers that is in short supply in Wisconsin," DATCP said in a statement.

The state's declared public health emergency authorizes DATCP to enforce Wisconsin’s price-gouging law.

“While it is not uncommon for prices to increase during times of high demand or low supply, DATCP will be closely monitoring the marketplace to ensure Wisconsin consumers are being treated fairly,” said Lara Sutherlin, administrator for the Division of Trade and Consumer Protection “Consumers can report their concerns to DATCP’s Bureau of Consumer Protection for evaluation and follow-up.”

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