CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is warning against price gouging during a state of emergency given reports of heavy rain across the state.
Laws prohibiting such activity took effect early Feb. 17 with Gov. Jim Justice's declaration of 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 select consumer items by more than 10 percent of what it sold for 10 days prior to the declaration.
“This week's heavy rainfall has many on guard as they watch creeks, streams and rivers rise across the Mountain State," Morrisey said in a statement. "I urge West Virginians to pull together and help those impacted.
"I also remind everyone to report any evidence of price gouging to our office as such conduct will not be tolerated in a time such as this."
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.
Those who have questions about price gouging laws or believe they have a complaint are asked to contact 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.