It is a sad reality that some people take advantage of crises. It became international news when consumers hoarded hand sanitizer and toilet paper. Price gouging on those types of items has become common. It has also become common for false or exaggerated claims to be made regarding a product’s effectiveness, such as a sanitizer killing 99.9% of germs when, in reality, it does not. These types of business practices can be stopped through legal means. Some other businesses, such as universities and sports leagues, may not have maliciously taken advantage of the situation but nonetheless refused to provide refunds when they should.
Here are some details on the types of claims we expect to bring to protect consumers from bad COVID-19 business practices:
Sporting Events, Concerts, and Shows
COVID-19 and the novel Coronavirus resulted in cancellation of concerts, sports, plays, and other mass gathering events. Many of these companies have refused to fully refund these purchases, citing an obscure provision in their ticket as support.
If you paid for something without getting the benefit of the bargain, such as tuition or a ticket to an event, then you deserve a refund. If the company or contractor refuses to refund you, then you should speak with an attorney.
Colleges and Universities
Tuition is expensive. Paying for school without being able to attend is wrong. You should get what you paid for. A portion of your tuition goes towards administrative costs, campus upkeep, and facility fees. You should not have to pay those fees without being on campus.
If your school wholly refuses to refund you, then you and your classmates may have a claim.
Misrepresentation and Unfair Trade Practices
Given the confusion caused by COVID-19, it is easy to get caught up in the hysteria. Businesses are seeking to take advantage of the pandemonium by making false claims about their products. For example, a business may market a product as a protection against COVID-19 despite there being no evidence to support their claim. Through these deceptive and misleading tactics, businesses are hoping to make a quick profit at the expense of the consumers. When a consumer relies on these misrepresentations and purchases the product, the business can be sued.
If you or your family has witnessed any over-exaggerated or flat-out false claims from a business, you should speak with an attorney.
During an emergency, it is unlawful to sell necessary commodities “for an amount that grossly exceeds the average price” of those goods or services during the 30 days before the emergency. Florida law specifically refers to food, water, ice, chemicals, and gas as necessary commodities. However, that list is non-exhaustive. As to the COVID-19 emergency, price gouging can be applied to sanitizers, masks, gloves, and other items that are necessary to minimize the spread of the disease.
If you suspect that a commodity is necessary and being sold for an outrageous price during this time, please give the attorneys at Mase Mebane & Briggs a call.Back to Coronavirus Claims