Price gouging is a crime – The Attorney General has a warning for people who take advantage during a declared State of Emergency
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that Alabama’s price gouging law is in effect following the declaration of a State of Emergency by Governor Kay Ivey in advance of Tropical Storm Nate.
In her declaration which took effect at 7:00 a.m. Friday, Governor Ivey cited sections of the Code of Alabama supporting that it is illegal for any person to impose unconscionable prices, or price gouging, for the sale or rental of any commodity or rental facility during the period of a declared State of Emergency.
Attorney General Marshall has a warning for people who seek to exploit bad weather conditions for profit – price gouging is a crime and they will be held accountable.
What constitutes an unconscionable price is not specifically set forth in state law. The common practice is that any price that is 25 percent or more above the average price that was charged in the same area within the last 30 days–unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable cost– is considered to be unconscionable pricing.
The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, and continuously violating this law could cause business owners to be prohibited from doing business in Alabama.
Consumers and officials can report any problems of alleged fraud or illegal price gouging to the Office of Consumer Protection by the following ways:
- Calling toll-free 1(800)392-5658
- Visiting the Attorney General’s website at www.ago.alabama.gov
- Writing to 501 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, 36130