AG’s Consumer Unit provides tips on how to avoid fraud during recovery
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Mike Hunter today announced the state’s price gouging statute is in effect for the 52 counties named in the governor’s state of emergency declaration.
The Emergency Price Stabilization Act prohibits an increase of more than 10% for the price of goods and services after a declared emergency. The statute triggers automatically after the governor issues a state of emergency. The law allows the attorney general to pursue charges against individuals or businesses that engage in price gouging.
“The Emergency Price Stabilization Act ensures fair prices for those negatively affected by the recent severe weather,” Attorney General Hunter said. “Hopefully, reminding everyone of the consequences of price gouging is enough to deter it. If not, we will not hesitate to prosecute those who violate the law.”
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 goods used for repairs, remodeling and construction. Individuals may face fines of up to $10,000 per violation.
In addition to announcing the price gouging statute is in effect, the attorney general also released the following information on how Oklahomans recovering from recent storms can avoid becoming victims of contractor fraud.
“Unfortunately, scam artists and fly-by-night companies see severe weather events as an opportunity to make money by taking advantage of Oklahomans who are making repairs to their homes, businesses or other property,” Attorney General Hunter said. “My office has a zero-tolerance policy for con artists who take advantage of vulnerable Oklahomans.”
- Stay patient, research companies and resist the urge to make quick decisions in the moment;
- Ask people you trust for the name of a reliable contractor;
- Avoid fly-by-night companies and use local companies that are established in the community;
- Obtain written estimates from multiple companies;
- Be cautious if an individual or business asks for a substantial up-front payment or cash payment;
- Use your best judgment. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
For more information or to report a complaint, individuals are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit by phone at (405) 521-2029, or email at email@example.com.
Oklahomans are also encouraged to download the Attorney General’s Disaster Scam Prevention Packet, located on the website, here: https://bit.ly/2GUNYU0.