We have all seen the social media posts and heard the horror stories about individuals going in to major supermarkets or local retailers obuying everything they could find, such as toilet paper.
A Bucks County lawmaker has introduced a measure to put an end to hoarding like shopping behaviors in Pennsylvania as a response to COVID-19 Pandemic Monday.
State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, introduced the legislation which would discourage hoarding by limiting the return of grocery items during the current state of emergency declared in response to the COVID-19.
“People have come together in a profound spirit of generosity and community during this time of crisis. Still, shortages of certain products have been reported, and this bill would discourage those who might try to make money off of a vulnerable population’s need for basic necessities by hoarding and selling them at exorbitant prices—products ranging from toilet paper and cleaning items to baby formula and diapers” Warren said in a statement released today.
According to Warren, hoarders could buy up products while “hedging their investment” by returning unsold items to the store for a refund or credit if the shortage abates or when the crisis ends.
Warren’s bill seeks to protect residents from shortages of basic necessities,like paper towels soap, and other basic staple needs to prevent the return and possible resale of items that could carry the COVID-19 virus on their surfaces, Warren said.
“The resale of returned items that could carry COVID-19 puts both grocery store workers and consumers at risk of being exposed to the virus,” Warren said. Warren noted that similar legislation has passed in the New Jersey General Assembly
That bill, according to NJ.com, was passed by the state assembly earlier this month in response to “panic buying” the publication reported and is awaiting a vote by the state senate.
The legislation would give retailers the sole discretion of accepting returned items that may have been unsafe or otherwise defective at the time of sale. Those items would not be eligible for resale.
Recently retail outlets have implemented delays on returning items, such as Target, which announced the change last week in an effort to be “extra cautious” the retailer said.
In addition to his legislation, Warren is co-sponsoring other business-related COVID-19 legislation, including Philadelphia Rep. Mike Driscoll’s resolution urging the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to reimburse insurance companies for payments on business interruption claims resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, the release said.
A spokesperson for Warren said the bill is being circulating for co-sponsors and has yet to have a designated number