Attorney general accuses Menards of illegally raising prices on cleaning supplies

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(MGN Image)(WLUC)
Published: Mar. 17, 2020 at 3:32 PM EDT
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(3/17/2020) - Menards is under scrutiny for allegedly raising prices on items related to preventing coronavirus.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel sent the big box retailer a cease and desist letter on Tuesday alleging the company improperly raised prices on face masks, bleach and other products.

Nessel said her investigators found Menards is exploiting public fears over COVID-19, which is the illness caused by coronavirus, by doubling the prices on cleaning products and tying purchases to an in-store rebate.

The complaints started last week at the Menards location in South Haven.

"Large corporations must also play by the rules, and my office will work diligently to ensure this state’s consumers are treated fairly and not abused by businesses seeking to unlawfully jack prices up to line their pockets with profits at the expense of the public during this time of great need,” Nessel said.

Menards had not responded to Nessel's allegations on Tuesday afternoon. The company has 10 days to file a response or the Attorney General's Office will investigate the possibility of legal action.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order on Friday banning price gouging and other unfair retail practices in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Call the state hotline at 1-877-765-8388 to file a complaint.

Investigators received 363 complaints of possible price gouging through the hotline by Tuesday afternoon and even more through a form on the state website.