ATLANTA– Attorney General Chris Carr is warning Georgia consumers to beware of price gouging and other scams in response to the nationwide baby formula shortage.
“With skyrocketing inflation, record-high gas prices, and now an unprecedented shortage of baby formula made worse by the increasingly dire situation at our southern border, parents across Georgia are understandably frustrated and in need of help,” said Carr.
“Nothing is more important than a child’s health and well-being, and anyone artificially increasing the cost of formula on the backs of hardworking Georgians will be held accountable for their illegal actions. Our office will continue to support and protect Georgia’s families who are frustrated by empty store shelves and outrageous prices when they are simply trying to feed their children.”
Some sellers may try to take advantage of this nationwide shortage by charging exorbitant prices for formula. Scammers may even create fake websites or advertisements offering baby formula in an attempt to steal people’s money.
The State of Emergency for Supply Chain Disruptions protects Georgia consumers from price gouging. This emergency declaration is currently in effect throughout the State of Georgia until 11:59 PM on June 14, 2022.
While the State of Emergency remains in effect, businesses may not charge more for products and services identified by the Governor than they charged before the declaration of the State of Emergency, unless the increased prices accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer’s average markup percentage applied during the 10 days immediately prior to the declaration of the State of Emergency. Under the price gouging statutes, the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) receives and evaluates reports related to a rise in the cost of goods and services after the declaration is made. Violators of Georgia’s price gouging statutes may be fined up to $5,000 per violation.
Consumers can report scams and suspected price gouging to CPD by calling 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123. Georgians can also file a complaint online by visiting CPD’s website.
Businesses looking for additional information about compliance with the price gouging statutes can visit the CPD website at consumer.ga.gov, go to the “Business Services” tab and then click on “Emergency Price Controls.”
Consumers should take precautions when making online transactions with an unfamiliar business. To avoid scams, it is best to do your online shopping through reputable, well-known websites. Be leery of ads on social media. You can check out a company’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau (BBB) at www.bbb.org. For more information about potential scams related to the baby formula shortage, visit the BBB website here.
If you are struggling to find baby formula during the shortage, the Georgia Department of Public Health recommends you visit healthychildren.org. If you have any concerns about your baby’s nutrition, please talk to your pediatrician.