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Coronavirus Update: Long Island Lawmakers To Introduce Legislation That Cracks Down On Price Gougers

OCEANSIDE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- Lawmakers are working to stop price gougers who are cashing in on the coronavirus outbreak.

New legislation could stop sky-high prices for items that are currently flying off store shelves.

Long Island pharmacy owner Maisey Khodzhayev told CBS2's Dave Carlin on Sunday that customers are desperate to get their hands on masks and hand sanitizer. He's down to just a few masks and the hand sanitizer is all gone.

"I sold out my last five pieces today. I sold out last week," Khodzhayev said.

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When stores like this one sell out it pushes some people to look elsewhere and pay more than they should.

"I've seen prices go up to $100 on Amazon and it's ridiculous," Khodzhayev said, adding when asked if he'd do the same, "I wouldn't. I don't take advantage of my customers. I'm in a new business."


Would you pay $90 for a box of just five masks? How about $40 for a mere eight ounces of hand sanitizer? Or a typical bottle of sanitizing spray for $45?

Angry Long Island leaders gave a price gouging show and tell Sunday, pointing to some bad deals on the internet and saying residents should report gouging to the New York State Attorney General's Office.

"Not only are these products grossly overpriced, there is a question as to whether they are authentic or safe," Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said.

CORONAVIRUS: CDC Latest | NY State Health Dept. | NYC Health Dept. | NY Hotline: 1-(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Hotline: 1-(800)-222-1222

New state legislation is being introduced that would allow the attorney general go after anyone raising prices by more than 10% during a crisis.

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky supports it.

"This is a direct threat to the health and safety of Long Islanders because if Long Islanders of modest means can't get the products they need they will not be able to stay healthy," Kaminsky said.

"We can all agree that any attempt to prey on the vulnerable and profiteer on essential goods, supplies or services during an emergency is flat out wrong," Rep. Kathleen Rice added. "I commend County Executive Curran for taking swift action and launching this consumer affairs initiative to combat price-gouging in our community. Long Island families will be better off as a result."

It appears to be happening most often with third-party sellers.

Politicians praised Amazon for cracking down and blocking grossly overpriced products and sellers who make false coronavirus claims.

But they said buyers have control.

Be alert and just say no.

Website eBay has also banned the sale of hand sanitizers and face masks.

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