Attorney General Troy King said that Alabama’s price gouging law was triggered and went into effect with the Governor’s declaration of a state of emergency earlier this afternoon.
General King has vowed to use the resources of his office to enforce it.
With gas prices across Alabama being reported to have reached or exceeded five dollars per gallon in some cities and with hundreds of Alabamians calling the Attorney General’s Office to report rising prices, Attorney General King warned unscrupulous businesses that are seeking to profit illegally at the expense of Alabamians that these practices will not be tolerated.
“We have laws to protect against those who would profiteer and take advantage of their fellow-citizens,” said Attorney General King. “It is wrong and against the law to illegally charge outrageous amounts for necessities that people must have in times of emergency. My staff and I understand that the soaring costs of fuel is working an extreme hardship on those in our state who are already struggling to live on fixed incomes and to provide for their families. I have directed my Consumer Protection Unit to respond aggressively to reports of wrongdoing.”
The state law that prohibits “unconscionable pricing” of items for sale or rent comes into play when the Governor has declared an official state of emergency.
An unconscionable price is defined as one that is 25 percent or more than the average price charged in the same area within the last 30 days, unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable cost.
The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, and those determined to have willfully and continuously violated this law may be prohibited from doing business in Alabama.
Attorney General King’s Consumer Protection Unit can be reached by calling toll-free to 1-800-392-5658 or though the Attorney General’s main web page at www.ago.state.al.us.