ATTORNEY GENERAL RUTLEDGE WARNS ARKANSANS OF WINTER WEATHER SCAMS, PRICE GOUGING
LITTLE ROCK â€“ Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today is urging Arkansans to be on guard against scam artists and price gouging following the recent severe winter weather that has impacted the entire State. The snow and ice can cause damage to homes, businesses, vehicles, trees and other property, and clean-up efforts may require some Arkansans to seek assistance from contractors or repairmen.
â€œArkansans have already been through a lot having to deal with the effects of bitter cold and several inches of snow dropping on the Natural State,â€ said Attorney General Rutledge. â€œI urge all of you to use caution as the clean-up process begins and if you suspect any type of fraud or price gouging, call my office immediately.â€
Governor Asa Hutchinson signed an Executive Order issuing a state of emergency following the freezing rain, sleet, snow and power outages in Arkansas.
Act 376 of 1997, which prohibits businesses from price gouging during a state of emergency, is now in effect. The law prohibits businesses from charging more than 10 percent above the pre-disaster price of goods or services, such as food, fuel, water, flashlights, batteries, blankets, medicine, bandages and construction materials. The price gouging law is triggered whenever a state of emergency is declared by federal, State or local governments. The ban on price gouging remains in effect for at least 30 days and can be extended another 30 days by the local governing body if necessary to protect the lives, property or welfare of the citizens. For home repairs, the law remains in effect for 180 days.
A violation of Act 376 is a violation of the Deceptive Trade Practices Act.
Arkansans who believe they have encountered a disaster scam or price gouging should contact the Attorney Generalâ€™s office at (800) 482-8982 or file a consumer complaint at ArkansasAG.gov