Potential propane price gouging warning during State of Emergency
Attorney General Bob Cooper and Deputy Commissioner for Commerce and Insurance and Acting Consumer Affairs Director Steve Majchrzak are asking all Tennesseans to be alert to potential price gouging on propane during the State of Emergency.
Some individuals may take advantage of consumers by unreasonably or excessively hiking the prices they charge for propane. This illegal practice is called price gouging.
“While we manage disruptions in propane delivery, we want to ensure that home and business owners are not subject to unfair price increases on the resources they need to keep warm,” said Cooper. “While most Tennesseans would never take advantage of their neighbors, we are prepared to enforce the law against anyone who needlessly raises prices to take advantage of Tennesseans and visitors.”
“I urge consumers to file a complaint with the Division of Consumer Affairs to report suspected propane price gouging,” said Majchrzak. “Please be prepared to provide specifics – including the location of the business and the price charged, to facilitate the reporting process. Complaints can be filed online at http://tn.gov/consumer/PriceGougeCmplnt.shtml or by phone at (1-800) 342-8385.”
The Attorney General, in conjunction with the Division of Consumer Affairs, reminds consumers and business owners that price gougers will be aggressively pursued and prosecuted as they have in the past.
The Price Gouging Act is automatically activated during a State of Emergency and it specifically cites that it is illegal to set prices that are grossly in excess of the price generally charged immediately prior to the State of Emergency.
The Attorney General in conjunction with the Division of Consumer Affairs may request that a court issue injunctions to stop the price gouging and order civil penalties of up to $1,000 for each violation. The State may also seek refunds for consumers.
The Department of Commerce and Insurance works to protect consumers while ensuring fair competition for industries and professionals who do business in Tennessee. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for a daily dose of fire prevention tips, consumer affairs information and much more.