CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey has issued a warning against price gouging during a state of emergency given reports of serious flooding in areas of northern and north central West Virginia.
Laws prohibiting such activity took effect Saturday with the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in Harrison, Marion, Marshall, Monongalia, Ohio, Taylor, Tucker and Wetzel counties. Taylor and Tucker were added Saturday afternoon.
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 it sold for 10 days prior to the declaration.
“I’m very concerned by the pictures, video and reports coming from areas of northern and north central West Virginia,” Morrisey said in a statement. “I join countless others in praying for those impacted and the first responders rushing to render aid.
“West Virginians pull together in times of need. We look forward to working with consumers and businesses to help those most impacted by the flooding."
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 AG's office 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 the office. Those with a receipt should attach a copy to their complaint.
Those with questions about price gouging laws or those who believe they have a complaint are asked to 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.