Camden County Increases Inspections for Price Gouging During Emergency Declaration

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(Gloucester Township, NJ) – In light of Governor Murphy’s announcement of a state of emergency on Monday, March 9, related to coronavirus (COVID-19), the Camden County Division of Weights and Measures is conducting additional inspections for price gouging throughout Camden County. Inspectors are looking for price gouging, a sudden and dramatic increase in cost, on items such as hand sanitizer, disinfectants, toiletries, bottled water, and more.

“The Department of Health and Human Services immediately escalated the number of spot checks and inspections for price gouging in response to the emergency declaration,” said Freeholder Carmen Rodriguez, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services. “As the size of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States has grown, the demand for cleaning supplies and hand sanitizers has increased exponentially. Though stock has been limited during many of our early checks, we will continue to ensure that Camden County residents are not being scammed or taken advantage of.”

The Division of Weights and Measures routinely performs spot checks to ensure that the price paid at the register matches what is shown on shelves and tags. Inspectors also inspect scales, meters, scanning equipment, and package products using highly accurate equipment to ensure that consumers receive exactly what they’re paying for. These checks occur at a wide range of businesses including supermarkets, gasoline stations, packing plants, and lumber yards.

In response to last night’s announcement, inspectors have been asked to focus more heavily on price gouging, specifically as it relates to the items previously listed. These checks will occur daily and will continue until the declaration has been lifted.

“Our residents rely on our inspectors for the peace of mind that when they pay for a gallon of gas, a pound of meat, or a yard of cloth, that they are getting what they paid for,” Rodriguez said. “Fortunately, we have not identified any price gouging on these critical items during our first day of increased spot checks. We will continue to vigilantly seek out any establishment hoping to pray on desperate consumers in the days and weeks ahead.”

If you have a problem with a weights and measures issue, contact the Camden County Department of Health & Human Services, Division of Weights & Measures at (856) 374-6001.

For consumer affairs complaints, contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-242-5846.