Iowa eBay seller accused of price gouging


(from the Iowa Attorney General’s Office)
DES MOINES — Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller has sued an Orange City man for alleged price gouging, accusing him of charging excessive prices on more than 250 items on eBay, including toilet paper, paper towels and disinfecting and sanitizing products.

The lawsuit is the first Iowa price-gouging petition filed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the beginning of the public health emergency, the office’s Consumer Protection Division has received 470 reports of price gouging, including 285 formal complaints.

The lawsuit names Michael Evan Noteboom of Orange City, who the lawsuit says has the eBay account known as mn65. The lawsuit, filed Friday, asks a judge to order a temporary and permanent injunction to stop Noteboom from selling household merchandise on any platform. It also seeks consumer restitution or disgorgement and civil penalties.

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

“Our office has warned the defendant repeatedly to stop his activity,” Miller said. “Through news reports, public-service announcements and other notices, our office has informed sellers and the public that we will not hesitate to protect consumers from price gouging.”