CHARLESTON — Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is warning against price gouging during the ongoing a state of emergency declared in response to heavy rains across portions of southern West Virginia.
Laws prohibiting such activity took effect Feb. 7 with the governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in Fayette, Greenbrier, Logan, McDowell, Monroe, Raleigh and Wyoming 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 the items sold for 10 days prior to the declaration.
“Cleanup efforts are well underway across southern West Virginia,” Morrisey said. “The days ahead are a time to unite and help one another. I’m always encouraged by how our neighbors pull together, and I am sure the same will hold true in this time 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'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.
Anyone with a question about price gouging laws or who believes they have been a victim of price gouging should 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.