Griffin: ‘Price gouging will not be tolerated’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin today issued the following statements alerting Arkansans of post-storm rebuilding scams and informing businesses that Act 367 of 1997 prohibitions on price gouging are now in effect following Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ declaration of a state of emergency earlier:
“First, we pray for the victims of today’s severe weather across our state. I encourage Arkansas families to make sure their priority is ensuring they are safe tonight. Unfortunately, unscrupulous people will already be preying upon our neighbors with offers of quick repair jobs. Arkansans should call their insurance company first and not be pressured into paying a quick deposit to a person who will take off with their money just as quickly.”
Griffin reminds homeowners that:
• Insurers will honor their home policies.
• There is no need to rush into or be pressured to sign a contracting agreement.
He also offered these tips:
• Get more than one estimate.
• Demand references and check them out.
• Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them.
• Never sign a contract with blanks “to be filled in later.”
• Never pay a contractor in full until the work is finished.
• Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company.
• Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance company.
Griffin also reminds Arkansans that, following Governor Sanders’ emergency declaration, the state’s anti-price gouging law is now in effect. Act 376 of 1997 prohibits businesses from price gouging during a state of emergency.
The law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10 percent above the pre-disaster price of goods or services, such as:
• Food and water
• Blankets, medicine and bandages
• Flashlights, batteries and construction materials
Griffin said: “The price gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, state or local governments. A violation of Act 376 is a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act, which carries a fine of up to $10,000. Many of our neighbors have had their lives turned upside down by the recent severe weather and need our support. Price gouging will not be tolerated.”
The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days and can be extended another 30 days if necessary to protect the lives, property or welfare of the citizens. For home repairs, the law remains in effect for 180 days.
Arkansans who wish to report concerns about the subject of this Consumer Alert or desire more information should contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office by calling (800) 482-8982 or by visiting www.arkansasag.gov.