Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt is warning today of scams and price gouging on Facebook’s third party sales platform Facebook Marketplace. In light of Facebook’s recent ban on the sale of masks, hand sanitizer and other items, the Missouri Attorney General’s Office has opened the lines of communication with Facebook and will collaborate with the platform to share information and consumer complaints. Despite this, consumers should still be wary of those seeking to profit off of a public health crisis on Facebook Marketplace.
“During or in the wake of natural disasters or public health crises, bad actors may seek to take advantage of Missourians looking to purchase essential supplies like hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and other cleaning supplies,” said Attorney General Schmitt. “My office is working with Facebook, Amazon, and other third party sales platforms to fight price gouging and scams in Missouri, but consumers should still remain vigilant and report suspicious activity in their communities.”
The Attorney General’s Office has received over 100 complaints on price gouging in the past couple of weeks, mostly relating to critical items Missourians need in fighting this health crisis.
If consumers see price gouging on Facebook Marketplace, they’re asked to report it to the Attorney General’s Office at https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/price-gouging. When reporting, please provide the url link to the specific listing and a full screenshot of the content including the seller’s name and location.
Facebook has proactively provided information to the Missouri Attorney General’s Office on its efforts to collaborate with states and combat price gouging. That includes banning advertising or the commercial listings of medical masks, hand sanitizer, surface disinfecting wipes, and COVID-19 testing kits. Facebook is sweeping for these items and will remove any they find, regardless of the asking price. There is also a singular point of contact at Facebook that state attorneys general can send potential price gouging listings to be taken down.
Attorney General Schmitt also partnered with Amazon to monitor and combat price gouging on their site as well.
Missourians can report price gouging by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or online at https://ago.mo.gov/civil-division/consumer/price-gouging