WV Attorney General enforces state’s price gouging law

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CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey warned WV businesses about the state’s price gouging law, during the coronavirus-related state of preparedness which was declared on Wednesday, March 4, 2020.

The state’s price gouging law, in connection with Wednesday’s declaration, makes it unlawful for any person, business or contractor to inflate the price of food items, essential consumer items and emergency supplies by more than 10- percent of what the items sold for 10 days prior to the declaration.

“Stopping the spread of coronavirus is a top priority for all of us,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “I encourage all West Virginians to take routine health precautions to prevent the spread of illness and watch for anyone who may take advantage of the situation. This is a time to remain calm, prepare and help one another as needed.”

The price gouging law goes into effect during any state of emergency or state of preparedness as issued by the WV Governor. The laws will remain in effect until the declaration is lifted or 30 days whichever is longer.

Attorney General Morrisey urges consumers who believe may have been charged prices which increased dramatically after the state of preparedness declaration, to file a complaint with his office. If you have a receipt you should attach a copy to your complaint.

Also be on the lookout for scammers who may use the coronavirus as a way of targeting people. Common ploys include unsolicited emails, calls or other forms of communication from those who may claim to represent a familiar entity in order to receive personal, financial or other sensitive information.

Attonery General Morrisey reminds people to never share data or agree to send cash, wire money or provide numbers associated with a credit/debit card, gift card or bank account without verifying the legitimacy of the recipient.

Anyone with a question about price gouging laws or coronavirus-related scams should call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online.

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