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$22 for can of Lysol, King City store says low supply has increased the price

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A King City convenience store is defending itself following complaints that it was possibly price gouging for charging $22 for a 19 ounce can of Lysol.”The Lysol went up three times the price,” 98 Cents Plus Store manager Abdul Mohamed said.He said the limited supply of the product has caused the price to skyrocket.”We sometimes have to cross the border into Mexico to get the product,” Mohamed said.Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Emily Hickok said they would look into the case. So far, their office has looked into 75 complaints of price gouging since the start of the pandemic.”For the majority of complaints, we found that there was not price gouging, but that sellers had obtained different products due to shortages,” Hickok said. “Even though some of those prices were surprising, when we looked into it the sellers at the retail-level had acquired those products for very high prices. So it’s not necessarily price gouging even though the prices seem very high.”Price gouging occurs when a merchant takes unfair advantage of consumers by greatly increasing prices for essential consumer goods and services during a state or local emergency. The governor has advised that the statewide protections against price gouging will stay in effect at least until Sept. 4, 2020. The California anti-price gouging law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. However, there are exceptions.”If it’s a product you did not sell prior then you are allowed to sell up to 50% of what it cost you acquire that product,” Hickok said. “If a seller is not increasing their prices but just obtaining a new product that they didn’t sell previously and they’re obtaining that product for a high price and turning and selling it for a reasonable profit that’s not necessarily price gouging.”Mohamed says investigators have previously come to his store over previous complaints of gouging, but he showed them his invoices.”I would invite anybody to my store and to ask me questions. We can talk. We have to work through this together and I hope this situation is over soon,” Mohamed said.

A King City convenience store is defending itself following complaints that it was possibly price gouging for charging $22 for a 19 ounce can of Lysol.

“The Lysol went up three times the price,” 98 Cents Plus Store manager Abdul Mohamed said.

He said the limited supply of the product has caused the price to skyrocket.

“We sometimes have to cross the border into Mexico to get the product,” Mohamed said.

Monterey County Deputy District Attorney Emily Hickok said they would look into the case. So far, their office has looked into 75 complaints of price gouging since the start of the pandemic.

“For the majority of complaints, we found that there was not price gouging, but that sellers had obtained different products due to shortages,” Hickok said. “Even though some of those prices were surprising, when we looked into it the sellers at the retail-level had acquired those products for very high prices. So it’s not necessarily price gouging even though the prices seem very high.”

Price gouging occurs when a merchant takes unfair advantage of consumers by greatly increasing prices for essential consumer goods and services during a state or local emergency.

The governor has advised that the statewide protections against price gouging will stay in effect at least until Sept. 4, 2020.

The California anti-price gouging law generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10%, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. However, there are exceptions.

“If it’s a product you did not sell prior then you are allowed to sell up to 50% of what it cost you acquire that product,” Hickok said. “If a seller is not increasing their prices but just obtaining a new product that they didn’t sell previously and they’re obtaining that product for a high price and turning and selling it for a reasonable profit that’s not necessarily price gouging.”

Mohamed says investigators have previously come to his store over previous complaints of gouging, but he showed them his invoices.

“I would invite anybody to my store and to ask me questions. We can talk. We have to work through this together and I hope this situation is over soon,” Mohamed said.

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