By Mary Sell, Alabama Daily News
More than 600 individual complaints of price gouging were reported to the Alabama Attorney General between mid-March and late last week.
A spokesman for the attorney general said the complaints from consumers followed the declaration of a state health emergency related to the coronavirus.
Information about what actions have been taken to investigate or stop the alleged gouging wasn’t available, but Attorney General Steve Marshall last month said, “those who seek to profit during this time of emergency through price gouging will be subject to the law.”
The penalty is a fine of up to $1,000 per violation, and those determined to have willfully and continuously violated this law may be prohibited from doing business in Alabama.
Marshall said that although what constitutes an unconscionable price is not specifically set in state law, a price that is 25% or more above the average price charged in the same area within the last 30 days — unless the increase can be attributed to a reasonable explanation — is likely unconscionable pricing.
To report suspected gouging, visit https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint or call 1-800-392-5658 to receive a form by mail.