- What to Know About Price Gouging During Flood Recovery?
- September 11, 2016
- Law Firm: Taylor Porter Brooks Phillips L.L.P. - Baton Rouge Office
Louisiana statutes regulating price gouging are applicable only during a state of emergency. These statutes provide both civil and criminal sanctions to those who violate its provisions. In addition, the court may order restitution to aggrieved consumers.
To enforce these statutes, the attorney general, the district attorney, or the parish attorney is given the exclusive authority to bring judicial action against violators. Attorney General Jeff Landry is alerting consumers to beware of price gouging and report it to authorities by contacting Consumer Protection Section at 800-351-4889. Consumers may also file a report on www.AGJeffLandry.com. When reporting price gouging, be sure to include the name and address of the merchant as well as the price and receipt of the item or service. Also include your name, address, and telephone number so you may be reached if further information is needed.
“As so many of our neighbors across the State work to get their lives back in order, it is outrageous and unlawful for merchants to wrongfully profit from the recent flooding,” said Attorney General Jeff Landry. “Louisiana law is clear; price gouging is illegal, and I will investigate and prosecute price gougers to the fullest extent of the law.”
Price gouging is the increase in prices or value for goods and services that are higher than the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and services at or immediately before the time of the state of emergency. A price gouging ban is placed on an area following the declaration of a state of emergency by the governor or parish president. This ban can remain in effect up to 30 days after the state of emergency ends. Price gouging is not attributable to verifiable market fluctuations and usually involves gasoline, hotels, and generators. In addition to the civil penalties and restitutions for consumers, a willful violation of the price gouging statute is a criminal offense punishable by a fine up to $500 or 6 months imprisonment, or both; imprisonment at hard labor for not more than 5 years where there is any serious bodily injury or any property damage in excess of $5,000.00; and imprisonment at hard labor for not more than 21 years where a willful violation results in the death of any person.