Attorney General Reminds Residents that Price Gouging on
Consumer Items, Energy Resources Prohibited
Attorney General George Jepsen is reminding residents and retailers that state law prohibits price gouging on consumer items and energy resources during the current civil preparedness emergency in Connecticut.
“Residents across the state are dealing with hurricane-related power outages, property damage and other disruptions to normal living. They need to know they shouldn’t have to pay excessive prices for basic necessities,” Attorney General Jepsen said. “Anyone who suspects price gouging or profiteering, should report it to my Office or to the Department of Consumer Protection for investigation under Connecticut’s unfair trade practices laws.”
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy declared a civil preparedness emergency in Connecticut on Oct. 27. While that emergency period is in effect, consumer items cannot be priced higher than they would be during the normal course of business. Violations are considered an unfair or deceptive trade practice and violators are subject to fines, the Attorney General said.
Also, Connecticut is currently under statutory notice of an “abnormal market disruption” for energy resources, such as heating oil, gasoline, propane, natural gas, electricity and wood fuels, among others. The notice means that dealers are prohibited from charging unconscionably excessive prices for those energy resources. Violators may be subject to penalties.
The market disruption period began Aug. 4 and is scheduled to expire Nov. 3, unless it is extended. The notice
is posted on the Attorney General’s website.
An “unconscionably excessive price” may occur when there is a gross disparity between the price during the market disruption and the price in the ordinary course of business immediately prior to the market disruption; and the price is not attributable to additional costs. Profits are compared to a 90-day look back period.
Assistant Attorney General Thomas Saadi is assisting the Attorney General with this matter, along with Assistant Attorney General Phillip Rosario, head of the Consumer Protection unit.