CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is warning against price gouging during a state of emergency due to heavy rain across West Virginia.
Laws prohibiting such activity took effect Monday with Gov. Jim Justice's April 16 declaration of a state of emergency in Barbour, Braxton, Gilmer, Lewis, Pendleton, Pocahontas, Randolph, Tucker, Upshur and Webster 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 is a time when all West Virginians should come together and help their neighbors,” Morrisey said. “Historically, West Virginians have responded heroically during times of need.”
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.
Morrisey 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.
Anyone with a question about price gouging laws or believe they have been a victim of price gouging is 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.