CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warns against price gouging during a state of emergency declared Tuesday in response to snow and ice across portions of West Virginia.
Winter storms have dropped snow and ice across the state leaving behind downed trees, blocked roads and widespread power outages.
Tuesday, the governor declared a state of emergency in Cabell, Lincoln, Putnam and Wayne counties. The remaining 51 counties are under a state of preparedness.
“So many people are left without power and will need basic resources to endure the storms,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “It’s encouraging to see the state pool its resources to clear roads and restore electricity to homes in the affected areas. West Virginians are always willing to help their neighbors, and I am sure the same will hold true in this time of need.”
The state’s price gouging laws specifically prohibit any person, business or contractor from inflating the price of select consumer items by more than 10 percent of what the items sold for 10 days prior to the declaration. Tuesday’s declaration includes any food items, essential consumer items and emergency supplies.
The law takes effect during any state of emergency or state of preparedness as issued by West Virginia’s governor. Price gouging laws remain in effect until the declaration is lifted or 30 days, whichever is longer, subject to limited exceptions.
The Attorney General urges any consumer who believes he or she may have been charged prices that increased dramatically after the state of emergency declaration to file a complaint with his office. Those with a receipt should attach a copy to their complaint. Consumers can also access a price gouging complaint form on the Attorney General’s website that can be completed online.
Anyone with a question about price gouging laws or who believes they have been a victim of price gouging should call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.