From The Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — With Hurricane Sally crashing into the Gulf Coast, Alabama’s price gouging law has gone into effect.
The law goes into effect when the governor declares a state of emergency and it prohibits the “unconscionable pricing” of items for sale or rent. Governor Kay Ivey issued a state of emergency in Alabama on Monday afternoon as Sally approached.
“Alabamians should be on-guard to possible price gouging and home repair fraud during and after Hurricane Sally’s passage through our state,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall.
Although what constitutes an unconscionable price is not specifically set forth in state law, a price that is 25% 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.
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.