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Governor Kemp declares state of emergency, invokes price-gouging statute

Posted: 2:47 PM, Mar 14, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-14 14:47:46-04
price gouging

GEORGIA (WTXL) — Governor Brian Kemp signed the state of emergency declaration on Saturday, activating Georgia's price gouging statute.

“Those who commit price gouging during this pandemic are not only being exploitative, they are interfering with consumer's ability to obtain products that could help protect them from becoming ill or spreading the virus,” said Attorney General Chris Carr, “Our office will not tolerate this and will hold them accountable.”

While the state of emergency is in effect, businesses may not charge more for products and services than they charged before the declaration of the state of emergency, unless the increased prices accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer's average markup percentage applied during the ten days immediately prior to the declaration of the state of emergency.

Violators may be fined up to $5,000 per violation.

To report violations, call 1-800-869-1123 or complete the online complaint form [lnks.gd] on the Consumer Protection Division’s website (consumer.ga.gov [lnks.gd]).

Carr is also advising consumers to follow these tips so as not to fall victim to a coronavirus-related scam:

• Watch out for emails claiming to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or experts saying that have information about the virus. For the most up-to-date information about the coronavirus, visit the websites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Georgia Department of Public Health, and World Health Organization.

• Don’t click on links from sources you don’t know. It could download a virus onto your computer or device. Make sure the anti-malware and anti-virus software on your computer is up-to-date.

• Ignore online offers for vaccinations. If you see ads touting prevention, treatment, or cure claims for the coronavirus, ask yourself: if there’s been a medical breakthrough, would you be hearing about it for the first time through an ad or sales pitch?

• Do your homework when it comes to donations, whether through charities or crowdfunding sites. Don’t let anyone rush you into making a donation. If someone wants donations in cash, by gift card, or by wiring money, don’t do it.

• Be alert to “investment opportunities.” The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is warning people about online promotions, including on social media, claiming that the products or services of publicly-traded companies can prevent, detect, or cure coronavirus and that the stock of these companies will dramatically increase in value as a result.