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Wholesale Company to Pay $100,000 for Price Gouging Lysol Products

NYS Attorney General Letitia James. Photo: Office of AG James

Nearly 1,500 New Yorkers who reported high prices to the Attorney General’s Office will receive reimbursement through money recovered from wholesale grocery and drug distributor Quality King Distributors, Inc. (Quality King) for price gouging Lysol products.

Based in Long Island, New York, Quality King was accused of charging consumers more than 50% above the standard price for Lysol products at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Attorney General Letitia James sued the company for ‘price gouging’–a practice that involves charging consumers an unfairly high price for goods, especially when those goods are in high demand and limited in supply. Ultimately Quality King settled the suite for $100,000.

James’ office had received complaints from consumers of abnormally high prices for Lysol products, including Lysol Spray and Lysol Wipes in the early days of the pandemic and its investigation found that Quality King, which distributes to retailers, drug stores, and local grocery stores in New York City and Long Island, increased prices of Lysol by more than 50%.

Investigation showed that in the early months of 2020, local retailers and many small businesses in New York City and Long Island were increasing the price of Lysol because they incurred significantly higher prices from the wholesaler, Quality King.

It was also discovered that Quality King raised its prices on Lysol products dramatically in the early months of 2020. For example, in February 2020, Quality King sold 19-ounce cans of Lysol Spray for $5.20 per can. Just five weeks later, Quality King increased the price to $8 per can, a 54% increase.

New York’s price gouging statute prevents companies throughout the supply chain from increasing prices on essential goods and services during emergencies. This agreement resolves an earlier lawsuit against Quality King and requires the company to pay $100,000 to the state.

“As we were grappling with fear and uncertainty during the early days of the pandemic, Quality King took advantage of New Yorkers and jacked up prices on these essential products,” James said. “Price gouging hurts consumers and small businesses and prevents people from getting critical goods in a time of crisis. We are putting money back into consumers' pockets and requiring Quality King to clean up its act. I thank the New Yorkers who raised these concerns to my office and enabled us to investigate, uncover the price gouging, and take action to hold Quality King accountable.”

Quality King will pay $100,000 to New York within 30 days, of which $20,000 will be paid in penalties. Nearly 1,500 New Yorkers who filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Office will each receive checks for approximately $10 in the mail for buying Lysol that was subject to price gouging.

New Yorkers should report potential concerns about price gouging to the Attorney General’s Office by filing a complaint online or calling 800-771-7755.


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