Grocers are Price Gouging Amid the Pandemic, Consumer Lawsuits Allege

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic putting the economy into shock, consumers are beginning to cry foul about grocers who have allegedly price gouged to take advantage of their desperation. Numerous consumer lawsuits are forming across the country, each accusing a food retailer of price going, many with eggs as the central focus of the claims. The varied complaints could potentially form consumer class actions later.

A few of the major grocers who have been accused by claimants include:

  • Costco
  • Walmart
  • Kroger
  • Albertsons

Price gouging is defined in most legal contexts as raising the price of a product or service by more than 10% after an emergency has been declared, especially when there is no clear reason for the price increase other than increased demand. In most states and situations, price going is as illegal as it is exploitative.

Cal-Maine Foods, a defendant in an egg-centric price gouging lawsuit filed in Texas, spoke out against the lawsuit and the allegations. According to its public statement, the limitations created by the coronavirus lockdowns paired with other economic disruptions increased the costs of producing, packaging, and shipping eggs, which in turn increased the price.

What Do Plaintiffs Want in Damages?

Some of the consumer lawsuits filed against grocers accused of price gouging during the pandemic demand an injunction be placed to cap egg prices, preventing them from increasing more than 10% while the pandemic continues. Other lawsuits are also asking for punitive damages in undetermined amounts. In price gouging claims and others that cite consumer market violations, punitive damages are often levied against the defendant as an additional penalty for wrongdoing.

This story is still developing, and it is likely that more consumer lawsuits will form against grocers and other retailers in the coming weeks. For more information, you can click here to view a full article from Progressive Grocer. If you think a retailer in Philadelphia has illegally price gouged during the coronavirus pandemic and you would like to take legal action in retaliation, call (215) 278-4449 and speak with the consumer class action attorneys of Golomb & Honik, P.C.

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