CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is reminding West Virginians of the state’s price gouging laws, which remained in effect Jan. 22 as Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin transitioned to a state of emergency in all 55 counties.
The state’s price gouging laws specifically prohibit any person, business, or contractor from inflating the price of any consumer item by more than 10 percent of what it sold for 10 days prior to the declaration.
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.
“I encourage everyone to heed Gov. Tomblin’s advice,” Morrisey said in a statement. “West Virginians always come together in times of emergency and I expect businesses and residents alike to help – not take advantage – of one another.”
Items subject to the state’s price gouging law are food items, essential consumer items, emergency supplies and home heating oil.
Morrisey said consumers who believe they have been charged prices that increased dramatically after Wednesday's state of preparedness declaration can file a complaint with his office. Those with a receipt should attach a copy to their complaint.
Those with questions about price gouging laws or to file a complaint are asked call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 368-8808 or the Eastern Panhandle field office in Martinsburg at (304) 267-0239. To file a report online, go to www.wvago.gov.