Attorney General Chris Carr is warning consumers to be on the lookout for scams and possible price gouging as Hurricane Michael approaches the Gulf Coast. Gov. Nathan Deal hA enacted a State of Emergency for 92 counties in Georgia. The State of Emergency shall be valid for a period of one week, beginning on Oct. 9, 2018 and ending at 11:59 p.m. on Oct. 16, 2018.
“With pending inclement weather, we want to remind Georgia consumers that our Consumer Protection Division is at work to protect them from scammers and price gougers,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “Under Georgia law, penalties for this type of conduct can range between $2,000 to $15,000 per violation. Please call our hotline or fill out a complaint online if you see something suspicious. We also join Governor Deal in asking for prayers for our citizens in the path of the storm and for our first responders.”
If you feel that you may have been the victim of a scam or price gouging, please contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 404-651-8600 within the metro Atlanta area or at 1-800-869-1123 toll-free outside of the metro Atlanta calling area. Telephone counselors are available between 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Friday. In addition, you can find more resources on the Consumer Protection Unit’s website:
- The Office of the Attorney General’s online complaint form to report price gouging can be found here.
- More information about price gouging can be found here.
To avoid home repair scams, the Attorney General advises consumers to do business with local firms that are stable and whose references can be checked. Do not give individuals money up-front based on a promise that they will be back to do the work.
The 92 counties under emergency declaration are: Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Chattahoochee, Clay, Clinch, Coffee, Colquitt, Cook, Crawford, Crisp, Decatur, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Effingham, Emanuel, Evans, Glascock, Glynn, Grady, Hancock, Houston, Irwin, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Long, Lowndes, Macon, Marion, McIntosh, Miller, Mitchell, Montgomery, Muscogee, Peach, Pierce, Pulaski, Quitman, Randolph, Richmond, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Treutlen, Turner, Twiggs, Upson, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, Wilcox, Wilkinson and Worth counties.
The Executive Order invokes the Price Gouging Statute as it pertains to goods and services necessary to support recovery and preparation efforts. While the State of Emergency remains in effect, businesses may not sell, or offer to sell at retail, any goods or services identified by the Governor at a price higher than the price at which the goods or services were sold or offered for sale before the declaration of the State of Emergency. Price increases on goods or services are permitted only if they accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer’s average markup percentage applied during the ten days immediately prior to the declaration of a state of emergency.