New York City Comptroller Brad Lander found the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection failed to adequately investigate price-gouging complaints during the pandemic.
The comptroller said DCWP achieved some progress with the complaints it investigated. Some of the most egregious violations the agency uncovered included sellers pricing an 8-ounce bottle of hand sanitizer for $28, a 10-pack of masks for $300 and a single N95 mask for $20, and that most of the price-gouging complaints came from Black and Latino neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic.
However, in the comptroller's audit, released last week, of more than 11,000 price-gouging complaints received between March and September 2020, DCWP responded to only 28%, with those inspections occurring on average 43 days after receipt, and 16% of cases were investigated after 90 days. The agency had not established time targets or productivity measures to ensure timely addressing of complaints, the report said.