Coronavirus News: 7 On Your Side 'Price Gouging Patrol' finds wipes selling for $133

NEW YORK (WABC) -- As many people stock up to prepare for the possibility of being quarantined, regulators are cracking down on price gougers both in stores and online.

Right after 7 On Your Side confronted an Upper East Side store owner, NYC inspectors followed up immediately with a visit.

"We should not be trying to make a buck on the back of New Yorkers who are stressed out and anxious," said the Commissioner of New York City's Division of Consumer Affairs, Lorelei Salas.

Salas said the much sought after N-95 masks were sold at the pharmacy for $25 each.

For context, you could buy the mask at a big box store for less than $2 before the crisis.

The store was charging $400 per box of 20 and was slapped with violating NYC's price gouging laws which now prohibit unjustified price hikes on masks, wipes and hand sanitizer -- all in short supply.

The pharmacy owner said he could prove he paid more for the masks, but if he can't, the city fine could go up to $500 per each item sold.

"We're not asking people not to make a profit, you were already making a profit before the virus, then that's your normal price," Salas said.

Earlier this week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo didn't hide his disdain for companies and online retailers like Amazon, which announced last week it removed vendors found to be gouging.

Yet Thursday morning, 7 On YOur Side found a 3-pack of Clorox wipes selling for $133. The same item at Walmart is less than $8.

Amazon's mark up was more than 1,600 percent.

Retailers flagged for gouging will have a chance to provide proof their higher prices were justified.

New York and New Jersey are both investigating hundreds of complaints on price gouging.

Both state Attorneys General said they're looking at those astronomical Amazon prices we flagged.

But just hours after we reached out to Amazon, they took the products off their site. However, others quickly took their place with even higher prices.

Amazon called these bad actors, but clearly it's struggling to keep up.

If you see price gouging, send photos to your consumer protection agencies:




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