March 17, 2008
The State of Georgia’s Price Gouging Statutes were activated upon Governor Perdue signing the State of Emergency declaration on Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 2:35 PM. The enforcement of the statute is restricted to the city limits of Atlanta within Fulton County.
Under the Price Gouging Statutes, the Governor’s Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA) receives and evaluates reports related to a rise in the costs of goods and services after the declaration is made. The statute does not apply to an increase in cost that is related to a substantiated additional costs at the wholesale level.
Historically, the main problems in tornado-created emergencies have been focused in the areas of tree removal and home repair fraud. OCA advises the affected consumers to do business with local firms that are stable and whose references can be checked. Do not give individuals sums of money based upon the promise that they will be back to do the work. In too many instances, neither the money nor the individuals are ever seen again. Violators of the statutes may be fined between $5,000 and $25,000 per violation. To report violations, consumers should call 404.651.8600
Businesses can check the OCA web site at www.consumer.ga.gov under the section entitled “Services for the Business” for additional information about compliance with the Price Gouging Statutes. Again, consumers should deal with people they know and will be around to guarantee their work.