Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is reminding Oklahomans the Emergency Price Stabilization Act is in effect for all 77 counties, after the governor declared a state of emergency on Saturday.
The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent for the price of goods and services after a state of emergency has been declared. Additionally, the act allows the attorney general to pursue charges against individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging.
“Many Oklahomans and businesses are dealing with significant damage from the storms that came through the state over the weekend,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Unfortunately, we consistently see people and businesses come in after severe weather and attempt to prey upon victims. It’s critical Oklahomans are aware of the law and their rights.”
The act is in effect throughout the state of emergency and for 30 days after it has ended. Additionally, the act remains in effect for another 180 days for charges for repairs, remodeling and construction.
Attorney General Hunter said individuals who suspect price gouging should contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029, or fill out a complaint form, here.
Attorney General Hunter and the Consumer Protection Unit want to provide the following consumer tips when individuals are recovering from a significant weather event or when hiring a contractor:
Never pay for the entire job upfront.
- The majority of reputable companies in Oklahoma will install or build without payment until the job is complete.
Be suspicious of door-to-door solicitations.
- Get a business card and research the company’s history online. Also, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.
Ask trustworthy people for a referral.
- Whenever possible, deal with local contractors who have roots in the community and independently verify addresses.
Receive several written estimates from different contractors.
- Ask each contractor for references where they have completed work.