Price Gouging in Alabama

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Alabama Attorney General Troy King says he will vigorously prosecute businesses and contractors that gouge their customers while Alabama is under a state of emergency due to Hurricane Katrina.

King said home repair fraud remains the most serious problem, and is a particular threat during times of natural disaster.

He says when the governor declares a state of emergency; it triggers a state law against unconscionable pricing. That's something that is at least 25 percent above the normal price. The law carries a fine of up to one thousand dollars per violation and violators could be banned from doing business in the state.

King said other complaints involve people who believe they were overcharged for gasoline, generators or booking a hotel room for a certain price only to arrive and be charged far more.

The attorney general's Family Protection Unit has set up a 24-hour hot line to field complaints: 1-800-230-9485.

The A-G's office of Consumer Affairs may be contacted at 1-800-392-5658.

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