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Price gouging law now in effect ahead of storm

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that Alabama’s price gouging law, still in effect for the ongoing States of Emergency from Covid 19 and Hurricane Sally, is now extended to cover a new State of Emergency declared with the approach of Hurricane Delta.

Alabama’s price gouging law comes into effect when the Governor declares a State of Emergency and it prohibits the ‘unconscionable pricing’ of items for sale or rent. While the State of Emergency declared by Governor Kay Ivey on September 14 for Hurricane Sally remains in effect, with the advance of Hurricane Delta, a new State of Emergency was declared today.

“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,” said Attorney General Marshall. “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 has received 52 complaints of alleged price gouging and fraud related to Hurricane Sally, which are under review.

Consumers and officials can report concerns of alleged fraud or illegal price gouging to the Attorney General’s Consumer Interest Division by visiting the Attorney General’s website to file a complaint at https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint, or by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658, or writing to Alabama Attorney General’s Office, 501 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, 36130.