When it comes to the coronavirus, folks are searching far and wide for face masks. And ways to make money off the growing fear and paranoia of the pandemic.

We told you earlier this week about the US Surgeon General asking Americans to stop buying face masks. Folks are paying too much for them, they are getting the wrong ones, using them incorrectly, and taking away supplies from medical professionals who really need them.

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We also warned you about face mask price gouging on Amazon and the steps they were taking to combat that.

And now the demand for face masks and price gouging has come to Michigan. And Attorney General Dana Nessel is not having it. Not for a minute.

Dave Trumpie-Trumpie Photography/Michigan.gov

Nessel alerted consumers after learning that a West Michigan retailer was selling individual face masks – packaged in Ziploc bags – for $10 each. (WLNS)

“Those who think they can profit off the rising fears about coronavirus need to think again,” Nessel said in a press release. “The Michigan Consumer Protection Act makes price-gouging illegal. It also gives our office tools it can use against profiteers who fuel panic by manipulating prices and supplies.”

The retailer’s action may be a violation of Michigan Consumer Protection Act, which makes the following actions unlawful:

  • Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold; and
  • Causing coercion and duress as the result of the time and nature of a sales presentation.

“I will not hesitate to bring the hammer down on any person or business that uses this public health threat to feed their own greed,” Nessel continued. “So, whether you run a national chain, a local store or are just looking for ways to get rich on eBay, the expectations are the same: follow the law. We are at the beginning of a unique and potentially difficult situation. It is my sincere hope that we will all pull together and help protect the most vulnerable among us.” (Michigan.gov)

Michigan residents are urged to report any violation of the Consumer Protection Act online or by calling 877-765-8388.