Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
For media inquiries only, contact:
Charlotte Gomer, Press Secretary
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING HIGHLIGHTS PRICE GOUGING PROTECTIONS AHEAD OF HURRICANE FLORENCE
~ Price gouging statute was activated upon declaration of state of emergency; covers items such as water, food, generators, and more ~
RICHMOND (September 11, 2018) - As Virginia prepares for a potential hurricane event, Governor Northam's declaration of a state of emergency has triggered Virginia's anti-price gouging statutes designed to protect consumers from paying exorbitant prices for necessities during an emergency. Enacted in 2004, Virginia's Anti-Price Gouging Act prohibits a supplier from charging "unconscionable prices” for "necessary goods and services” during the thirty day period following a declared state of emergency. Items and services covered by these protections include but are not limited to: water, ice, food, generators, batteries, home repair materials and services, and tree removal services. A price is considered "unconscionable” if the post-disaster price grossly exceeds the price charged for the same or similar item or services during the ten days prior to the state of emergency.
"First and foremost, I encourage all Virginians to take the necessary steps in preparation for this dangerous storm,” said Attorney General Herring. "I would also encourage everyone to pay attention to the prices of necessary goods and services, both during and after the state of emergency, and be wary of prices that may be higher than normal. Taking advantage of natural disasters and exploiting folks for financial gain is against the law and I will work to make sure that those who participate in price gouging are brought to justice.”
Violations of Virginia's Anti-Price Gouging Act are enforceable by the Office of the Attorney General through the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. Complaints should be reported for investigation to the Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Section, with the exception of claims related to gasoline and motor fuel prices, which are handled by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
If a consumer suspects they are a victim of price gouging, they can call the Consumer Protection Hotline and download a complaint form from the Attorney General's website and submit it in-person, by mail, by fax, or by sending a PDF to the following email address:
Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Consumer Protection Section
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(800) 552-9963, or (804) 786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area