Attorney General Steve Marshall today issued a warning against trying to profit from Alabama’s public health emergency.
The state’s price gouging law, which prohibits the “unconscionable pricing” of items for sale or rent, took effect when Gov. Kay Ivey declared a state public health emergency on March 13.
“Alabamians should be on guard against those who would seek to prey upon them through price gouging of commodities and services for consumption or use as a direct result of the public health emergency,” Marshall said. “Furthermore, those who seek to profit during this time of emergency through price gouging will be subject to the law.”
State law doesn’t spell out what constitutes an unconscionable price, but the attorney general office said a price increase of 25% or more above the average price in a given area within the past 30 days is “a prima facie case of unconscionable pricing,” unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable cost in connection with the rental or sale of the commodity.
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.
People who want to report possible price gouging can visit the Consumer Interest Division’s website or call 800-392-5658.