Attorney General’s office warns of price gouging during State of Emergency

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HARRISBURG, Pa. — Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane’s office today cautioned both Pennsylvania consumers and businesses to be aware of the potential for price gouging following the State of Emergency declaration made by Gov. Tom Wolf.

The price gouging restrictions prohibit anyone involved in the sale or distribution of consumer goods or services from “unconscionably excessive” increases above average prices during the emergency and for 30 days after its conclusion.

The state’s Price Gouging Act gives the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection the authority to investigate price gouging complaints and allows for penalties of up to $10,000 per violation, along with restitution and injunctive relief.

The restrictions required by the act not only apply to businesses involved in direct consumer sales, but also to manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers and distributors of consumer products and services.

Attorney General Kane also advised consumers to follow the Public Utility Commission’s tips for residents during power outages, including calling utility companies instead of 9-1-1 if power is lost. Commonwealth residents also are encouraged to limit travel during power outages involving downed power lines.

Consumers can report potential price gouging by calling the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection helpline at 800-441-2555 or by filing a consumer complaint online.