Alerts

Attorney General Alert: Rutledge Warns of Possible Price Gouging During Covid-19 Emergency Declaration

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today is reminding consumers to be aware of potential price gouging on goods, products and services following Governor Asa Hutchinson’s public health emergency declaration. The announcement was made Thursday as the state experiences a spike in Covid-19 cases.

“Just as we saw in 2020, some people will exploit a crisis by charging astronomical amounts for items like toilet paper and hand sanitizer, but this illegal activity will not be tolerated on my watch,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Unfortunately, during emergency declarations, we must be diligent and report businesses charging prices for items that appear beyond legal limits.”

Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to avoid price gouging:

  • Know the average price for goods like hand sanitizer, soap and non-perishable food items before purchasing. If it seems too high, ask questions.
  • Avoid high-pressure sales tactics to purchase items that claim to keep you healthy.
  • When possible, deal with established, reputable businesses in the community.
  • Stay updated on the latest risks, warnings and prevention tactics at CDC.gov/Coronavirus.

The price gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, state or local governments. The Governor’s Executive Order issued on July 29, 2021 will expire sixty (60) days from that date.  The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days following the declaration on goods and services related to the emergency. The scope of the law is broad and is intended to cover anything that may be needed in the event of a state of emergency. 

Arkansas’s price gouging law prohibits businesses from excessive and unjustified increases in the prices charged for essential goods and services during an emergency. Businesses may lawfully charge a higher price if they can establish that the higher price is directly attributable to additional costs incurred by the retailer, its supplier or as the result of additional costs for labor or materials.

To report price gouging visit ArkansasAG.gov/resources/contact-us/report-price-gouging/. For more information about other consumer-related issues, please visit ArkansasAG.gov, email Consumer@ArkansasAG.gov, or call the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982.

323 Center Street, Suite 200

Little Rock, Arkansas 72201

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