WV Attorney General Urges Consumers to Report Price Gouging

January 10, 2014
Friday, January 10, 2014 - The BBB is warning consumers about people overcharging for bottled water in the wake of the recent chemical leak.

Thursday, Governor Ray Tomblin declared a state of emergency for nine counties in West Virginia due to a recent chemical leak in Charleston. This state of emergency includes West Virginia American Water customers in Kanawha, Cabell, Boone, Putnam, Lincoln, Logan, Clay, Roane, and Jackson counties.

West Virginians in the affected areas are being told not to use the tap water for drinking, cooking, washing or bathing and only to use for sanitary purposes and fires.

"The only option for residents is to purchase bottled water," said Amanda Tietze, VP of Public Relations for the Better Business Bureau. "People are waiting in long lines, often time for hours to purchase just one gallon of water. Some stores are taking advantage of this crisis and severely overcharging in some instances as much as $30 for a case of water," said Tietze.  

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urges people to report instances of price gouging during the state of emergency that was issued in nine counties after a leak that prompted a water emergency.

"It is illegal for any person or entity to inflate the price of water in times of emergency, " Attorney General Morrisey said. "We are hearing reports of price gouging going on already in the region. It is illegal and just plain wrong for a business to take advantage of consumers and West Virginians during an emergency."

If you are searching for clean water the Attorney General wants to warn you to be safe and double check where the water is coming from.

"If you hear anything about price gouging I will do everything in my power to prosecute people and go after them," Morrisey said. "We are going to show no mercy with people who try to take advantage of citizens during this critical time. This is a very serious thing and I want to make sure that all vendors know that you cannot take advantage of West Virginian citizens. 

The BBB encourages anyone who  has been charged overly inflated prices to file a complaint with the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808.

Source: WSAZ News Channel 3