How to file a complaint of price gouging due to Hurricane Florence

There are laws protecting consumers from exorbitant prices in emergencies

By Samantha Smith - Digital Content Producer
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

A store's bread shelves are bare as people stock up on food ahead of the arrival of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 11, 2018, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

RICHMOND, Va. - As part of the state of emergency that Gov. Ralph Northam declared, there are safeguards in place to make sure consumers aren't overpaying for emergency supplies. 

Items and services included in the 2004 statute include but are not limited to: 

  • water
  • ice
  • food
  • generators
  • batteries
  • home repair materials and services
  • tree removal services

According to Virginia's anti-price gouging laws, a price is considered "unconscionable" if the price after the natural disaster is much greater than the price charged for the same or similar item or service during the 10 days prior to the state of emergency. 

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 via email.

A separate complaint form is available for price gouging involving motor fuels. Consumers are encouraged to keep any relevant documentation and submit copies with their complaint. 

Complaint forms sent via mail should be sent to the following address: 

Office of the Attorney General of Virginia, Consumer Protection Section
202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 232193

The number for the Consumer Protection Hotline is 1-800-552-9963.

Copyright 2018 by WSLS 10 - All rights reserved.