KENTUCKY, USA — Natural disasters, like the tornadoes that devastated parts of Kentucky and other states, not only can cause damage to people's homes but also to the price of goods and services.
Oftentimes retailers and others take advantage of the sudden spike in demand by raising prices much higher than what is considered to be reasonable or fair, also known as price gouging.
This usually happens after a state of emergency has been declared, or something that shocks supply and demand, like natural disasters.
In response to the tornadoes and severe weather in Western and Central Kentucky, Attorney General Daniel Cameron activated the price gouging hotline. Kentuckians can report price gouging by calling 888-432-9257 or by visiting this website.
"We’re activating the price gouging hotline to assist local communities with responding and to ensure that no Kentuckian experiences predatory pricing as they’re purchasing emergency supplies." said Cameron.
Kentucky Revised Statutes (KRS) 367.374 governs the sale or rental of goods and services when a state of emergency is in effect, and states that no person shall sell or rent an item for a price "which is grossly in excess of the price prior to the declaration."
Goods and services included in this prohibition include food items; goods or services used for emergency cleanup; emergency supplies; medical supplies; home heating oil; building materials; housing; transportation, freight, and storage services; and gasoline or other motor fuels.
When filing a price gouging complaint, it's important to report as many details as possible, including the name and address of the seller/retailer, the item purchased, the price of the item after the emergency declaration, and the price of the item before, if you know. Consumers should also keep receipts from the transaction to show proof of purchase.
Again, Kentuckians can report suspected price gouging to the Consumer Protection Hotline at 888-432-9257 or by visiting this website. If you're having trouble connecting to the hotline, you can also report price gouging by calling 502-696-5300.