Attorney General warns against price gouging in advance of Hurricane Michael

Attorney General warns against price gouging in advance of Hurricane Zeta

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WALA) - Attorney General Steve Marshall on Tuesday announced that Alabama’s price gouging law is in effect in advance of the arrival of Hurricane Sally this week.

Alabama’s price gouging law comes into effect when the Governor declares a State of Emergency and it prohibits the ‘unconscionable pricing’ of items for sale or rent.

Effective at 3:00 p.m., September 14, Governor Kay Ivey declared a State of Emergency “based on the imminent threat of Tropical Storm Sally, which has now strengthened into Hurricane Sally, with the potential to make landfall in or near Mobile and Baldwin counties.”

The eye of Hurricane Sally is expected to enter southeast Alabama by early Wednesday and hurricane warnings are in effect for Mobile and Baldwin counties.

“Alabamians should be on-guard to possible price gouging and home repair fraud during and after Hurricane Sally’s passage through our state,” said Attorney General Marshall.

Although what constitutes an unconscionable price is not specifically set forth in state law, a price that is 25 percent or more above the average price charged in the same area within the last 30 days—unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable cost—is a prima facie case of unconscionable pricing.

The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, and those determined to have willfully and continuously violated this law may be prohibited from doing business in Alabama.

Consumers and officials can report concerns of alleged fraud or illegal price gouging to the Attorney General’s Consumer Interest Division by visiting the Attorney General’s website to file a complaint at https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint, or by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658, or writing to Alabama Attorney General’s Office, 501 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, 36130

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