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Price gouging becomes a crime in the US

An interesting article on the Bloomberg site earlier today. They refer to US legislation which will make price gouging when it comes to gasoline prices over there.

The gouging bill would prohibit the sale of gasoline at “unconscionably excessive” prices or prices that take “unfair advantage” of consumers.

An interesting proposal, but as was mentioned in the article, there’s no definition of what “unconscionably excessive” might actually mean.

Given some recent examples in Ireland, would this mean the garage on the south Quays in Dublin charging over €1.50 per litre when the average price elsewhere is about €1.1o (or was at least the last time the story was in the press).

Compared to the puny authority of the National Consumer Agency, the punishments for this new crime in the US mean that companies would face criminal fines of up to $150 million, and individuals could be fined $2 million and face up to 10 years in jail.

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