Shelves usually stocked with infant formula lie mostly empty at a store in San Antonio, Tuesday, May 10, 2022. A massive infant formula recall, combined with COVID-related supply chain issues, is the main culprit for the shortage that is causing distress for many parents across the United States But the country’s formula supply has long been vulnerable to this kind of crisis, experts say, due to rules and policies that are several years old. decades that allowed a handful of companies to capture almost the entire American market.
(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
New York Attorney General Letitia James issued warnings to more than 30 physical and online stores across the state to stop jacking up infant formula prices after customers reported prices unreasonably high in the midst of the current shortage.
New York’s predatory pricing law prohibits merchants from charging excessive prices for essential goods and services when the market faces abnormal disruptions, such as shortages. Attorney General James issued cease and desist letters to those retailers ordering them to immediately stop overcharging infant formula and warning them of the legal ramifications of a price hike.
“It is unconscionable that some retailers are taking advantage of the national infant formula shortage while parents struggle to find food for their children,” Attorney General James said. “In the midst of this crisis, families already have enough to worry about and shouldn’t have to worry about getting ripped off. We are warning all retailers that New York will not tolerate price gouging for infant formula, and I encourage anyone who sees this to continue to report it to my office.
Earlier this month, Attorney General James issued a warning to retailers about excessive prices for formula and encouraged New Yorkers to report any cases to his office. His letters say wholesalers and distributors are also prohibited from price gouging and encourage retailers to notify his office if they are overcharged.
Since issuing this warning, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has received several consumer complaints about price gouging for infant formula at local retailers across the state, primarily in New York City. A consumer reported that a 19.8 ounce box of Enfamil Nutramigen formula, which typically sells for $44.99, was being sold by an Erie County retailer for $59.99, and it was also reported that a 32-ounce ready-to-serve bottle of Enfamil NeuroPro was being sold by a Bronx retailer for $17.99 when it previously sold for $11.99.
The OAG encourages parents in New York who are having trouble finding formula to speak with their child’s doctor before diluting formula or trying to make their own, and also to buy only the amount. formula they need and not to stock up unnecessarily in case of panic buying. can intensify scarcity and encourage price gouging. The OAG also reminds consumers that limiting the amount of infant formula they sell to individual consumers is not a price-gouging practice for retailers.
When reporting price increases to the OAG, consumers should report specific price increases, the dates and locations they saw increases, and the size and type of formula sold. If available, those reporting should also provide copies of their receipts and photos of advertised prizes.
New Yorkers should report any potential concerns about price gouging to OAG by filing a complaint online or by calling 800-771-7755.