Tips on checking price differences when shopping online

Updated: Sep. 16, 2020 at 4:30 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Price gouging is not unusual during times of crisis, like the pandemic and natural disasters, but it’s still illegal. On huge marketplace websites, it’s sometimes hard to know if you’re actually getting a fair deal or not.

Consumer watchdog group, Public Citizen, claims it has seen price gouging on Amazon in the last six months. While Amazon is pretty quick to catch activity like this, it’s still good to know how to find the right price for your necessities online.

First, read the item details of the product you’re interested in. Know the product’s size and quantity compared to the price. Don’t be afraid to compare that price to similar products on other sites.

Target sells 8 fluid ounces of Germ X for $1.99, but Amazon sells 12 of the exact same bottles for $23.88. Based on that and a little math, it’s safe to say you’re getting a fair or equivalent deal on Amazon and Target.

Another option is using price tracker websites like You can paste the link of an Amazon product you like and see how much the price has changed over time.

When searching the link of a 50-pack of disposable masks, for example, the price tracker shows the pack went for $40 in August. However, the price has since dropped down to $24.99 and fluctuated a few bucks over the last couple of weeks. Now, you can buy the pack for $27.99 on Amazon.

This isn’t to say the company was price gouging, but using a price tracker gives you a good look at when you might score the best deal on an item.

If you think a vendor or company is price gouging, report it. File a complaint with the company and the attorney general’s office.

For Louisiana companies, you can fill out a consumer dispute form with Attorney General Jeff Landry’s office.

You can even call in consumer tips and scams for natural disasters right now by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 866-720-5721.

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