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Chairs Pallone, Scott Urge FTC to Prevent Online Price Gouging of Baby Formula

Jun 13, 2022
Press Release
Vendors on online marketplaces are selling infant formula at significantly higher prices, advertising fake products, and employing other deceptive tactics to scam consumers during the infant formula shortage.

Today, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) and Education and Labor Committee Chairman Bobby Scott (VA-03) sent a letter urging the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to address online marketplaces—including Facebook, eBay, and Amazon—that fail to protect consumers from the fraudulent and deceptive sale of infant formula.

Recent news reports have shown that unscrupulous third-party vendors on online marketplaces are selling infant formula at significantly higher prices, advertising fake products, and employing other deceptive tactics to scam consumers during the infant formula shortage. Unfortunately, online marketplaces do not have sufficient policies to combat price gauging and fraud or the proper incentives to protect their consumers.

“Third-party vendors that use online marketplaces often face little to no consequences for deceptive practices and as such, often have little to no incentive to act fairly towards consumers. Recent reporting has indicated, for example, that vendors on eBay are selling formula for almost double the price the formula is sold for in stores and that vendors on Facebook are selling product that does not exist,” the Chairs wrote. “Vendors must not be allowed to take advantage of this national crisis by selling products at unreasonable prices or, even worse, committing outright scams by taking consumers’ money without providing products.”

They continued, “We urge the FTC to encourage online marketplaces to better protect consumers during the formula shortage and to take action against those who violate the law.”

In the letter, the Chairs specifically request that the FTC issue a public advisory to encourage online marketplaces to better prevent, identify, and eliminate the sale of fraudulent infant formula and take swift action against infant formula vendors who employ deceptive practices.

To read the full letter, click here.

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