Orange City woman sued for price-gouging during pandemic

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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCAU) – An Orange City woman is being sued, being accused of price-gouging needed items during the initial surge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawsuit filed by Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller accuses Brenda Kay Noteboom of Orange City of selling more than 320 items over a two-week period in March, earning more than $5,500. Items sold included toilet paper, paper towels, disinfecting and sanitizing products and other items needed by disaster victims.

A disaster declaration signed by Governor Kim Reynolds triggers the state’s price-gouging rule. The rule forbids sellers from charging excessive prices for goods or services “needed by victims of disasters.”

Brenda Noteboom is the sister of Michael Evan Noteboom, who was sued by Miller on April 26. Michael Noteboom is accused of price-gouging more than 250 items on eBay. He denies he violated the law.

Miller said that his office will not hesitate to protect consumers from price gouging.

“Price gouging can harm all consumers, even if they don’t purchase an item at an excessive price,” Miller said. For example, selling household necessities at substantially increased prices can lead to panic, hoarding, and shortages of items needed during an emergency.

This is the second lawsuit filed by Miller that alleges someone violated the price-gouging law during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those found in violation of Iowa’s price-gouging rule could face civil penalties of up to $40,000 under the Iowa Consumer Fraud Act.

Since the beginning of the public health emergency, the office’s Consumer Protection Division has received 620 reports of price gouging, including 427 formal complaints. To file a price-gouging complaint, click here.

Read the full lawsuit below.

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