Saturday, March 14, 2020

AG: Price Gouging Statute in effect statewide after COVID-19 federal emergency declaration


Attorney General Hunter Announces Price Gouging Statute in Effect Statewide Following Federal Emergency Declaration Regarding COVID-19

OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced the state’s price gouging statute is in effect statewide following Pres. Donald Trump’s emergency declaration regarding COVID-19, also known as the Coronavirus.

The price gouging statute, or the Emergency Price Stabilization Act, prohibits an increase of more than 10% for the price of goods or services after a declared emergency. The statute automatically triggers after the issuance of a state or federal emergency declaration.

Attorney General Hunter said the statute allows his office to pursue charges against individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging.

“Scam artists routinely prey on individuals’ emotions during times of fear and crisis,” Attorney General Hunter said. “I encourage Oklahomans to remain calm but cautious during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Don’t pay inflated prices for things like hand sanitizer, paper towels or other products and services that are becoming sparse. If anyone encounters price gouging, fraudulent charities or other crimes related to deceptive business practices, contact my office where we will not hesitate to prosecute in order to shut these operations down to protect our citizens.”

For more information or to file a complaint, individuals are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit by phone at (405) 521-2029, or email at consumerprotection@oag.ok.gov.   

The following are guidelines and information on how to avoid scams related to the Coronavirus, as well as where to find additional information and resources:

  • Avoid all offers for vaccines or other products specifically claiming to treat or cure COVID-19. The FDA has not yet approved any medical products or treatments for this virus;
  • Do not open emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), or any other entity for which you have not personally subscribed to receive email updates;
  • Go directly to government websites, like the CDC, to review trusted updates. These organizations will never ask for personal log-in information or require a download to provide health materials from an email; and
  • Thoroughly research charities claiming to be assisting those affected by the Coronavirus. Reputable relief organizations will never require donations in cash, wire, transfers or gift cards. Do not be pressured into immediately paying, instead take time to confirm legitimacy;

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