West Virginia AG says businesses being investigated for price gouging
GREENBRIER COUNTY, WV (WSLS 10) - Since the flooding the Attorney General's office has launched an investigation into several hotels for price gouging.
We're hearing from one family who says increased prices in the Lewisburg area meant they had to turn to relatives for help.
"We had gotten flooded and had lost everything that we owned," said Alderson West Virginia resident Kevin Brammer.
Brammer says when his family saw all of their belongings destroyed, with no renter's insurance to replace them, they turned to the Red Cross.
The non-profit first recommended an emergency shelter.
"We have a son who is 7 years old who is autistic, so he wasn't able to stay in a shelter," said Brammer.
Brammer says the Red Cross was able to provide his family with a $600 stipend for a hotel, but when his wife began looking for a room, they ran into trouble.
"The night that she did call, it was 48 hours after the flood or something like that, they had quoted her a price of like 250 dollars a night," said Brammer.
He says he was shocked, but they continued to search.
"We called around in the other motels just in the right vicinity, was at the 200 to 300 dollar range as well," said Brammer.
Brammer says thankfully, he was able to move his family into his sister's house in Union for the time being.
He says hotels may have been trying to take advantage of families like his.
"Nothing special that was going on other than everybody, that so many people has been displaced out of a home, and the only explanation that we were able to come up with was they were taking advantage of the people who was suffering the most and who was in the most need," said Brammer.
He filed a report with the Attorney General's office, and he's not alone.
"With respect to price gouging, our office has investigated numerous reports. We've probably received 20 to 30 complaints, more keep trickling in," said West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, in a June 30th press conference.
Morrisey assured people that his office was not taking these reports lightly.
"We have already issued 3 subpoenas and multiple letters to different businesses around the state. Some involved water prices and toiletry items, some involved hotels," said Morrisey.
Now, there is an added concern in the Lewisburg area as The Greenbrier, that claims to have housed or fed up to 700 people since the flood, is reopening Tuesday.
Any flood victims still there may need to find alternate housing.
Morrisey could not confirm that any of the hotels being investigated are in the Lewisburg area, just that they are in areas of the state affected by flooding.
The Red Cross did just open a new shelter Wednesday at the Greenbrier East High School, about a 20 minute drive from The Greenbrier Resort.
The Red Cross says it says can host up to 450 flood victims there.
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