Alabama price gouging law extended ahead of Hurricane Delta

Complaints about alleged price gouging may be reported on the Alabama attorney general's office website.
Complaints about alleged price gouging may be reported on the Alabama attorney general's office website.(Source: WSFA)
Published: Oct. 7, 2020 at 9:30 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that Alabama’s price gouging law has been extended as Hurricane Delta moves towards the Gulf.

The price gouging law was already in effect from the ongoing state of emergency for COVID-19. Marshall says the extension covers the new state of emergency that Gov. Kay Ivey declared on Tuesday.

Alabama’s price gouging law prohibits the “unconscionable pricing” of items for sale or rent. It goes into effect when the governor declares a state of emergency.

While the state of emergency declared for Hurricane Sally on Sept. 14 remains in effect, a new one was declared Tuesday with the advance of Hurricane Delta.

“As our Gulf Coast struggles to recover from Hurricane Sally, now residents and businesses are bracing themselves for the approach of yet another dangerous storm,” Marshall said in a statement. “They should remain on guard for price gouging and home repair fraud in the advance and aftermath of Hurricane Delta.”

Although what constitutes an unconscionable price is not specifically set forth in state law, a price that is 25 percent or more above the average price charged in the same area within the last 30 days - unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable cost - is a prima facie case of unconscionable pricing.

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.

The attorney general’s office states it has received 52 complaints of alleged price gouging and fraud related to Hurricane Sally. Those complaints are under review.

Consumers and officials can report concerns of alleged fraud or illegal price gouging on the attorney general’s website. Complaints can also be reported by calling 1-800-392-5658 or writing to Alabama Attorney General’s Office, 501 Washington Ave., Montgomery, Alabama 36130.

Copyright 2020 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

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