Price gouging act in effect for counties affected by tornadoes

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Damage near Davis

OKLAHOMA CITY – Less than one day after Gov. Fallin issued a state of emergency for 15 counties, an act to protect those victims went into effect.

On Tuesday, Gov. Fallin declared a state of emergency for the following counties:

  • Atoka County
  • Bryan County
  • Choctaw County
  • Cleveland County
  • Coal County
  • Comanche County
  • Garvin County
  • Johnson County
  • Kay County
  • McCurtain County
  • Murray County
  • Noble County
  • Payne County
  • Stephens County
  • Tillman County.

state of emergency

Following the declaration, officials say the Emergency Price Stabilization Act was enacted.

The price gouging statute prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent in the price of most goods and services during a state of emergency and 30 days afterward.

 

“Many families are dealing with significant losses from these storms and the last things they need to worry about are scammers and price gouging,” Attorney General Pruitt said. “While a majority of Oklahomans are focused on helping their neighbors in this aftermath, unfortunately a few bad actors may try to take advantage of the most vulnerable, so consumers should be alert.”

If you are in need of repairs, make sure you are hiring reputable contractors and businesses.

Officials say you should be wary of contractors or repair services that:

  • Solicit for work door-to-door
  • Offer discounts for finding other customers
  • “Just happen to have” materials left over from a previous job
  • Accept only cash payments
  • Pressure you for an immediate decision
  • Ask you to pay for the entire job up-front.

Instead, the attorney general’s office has a few tips for making sure you choose a reputable repair service:

  • Ask for referrals from people you trust
  • Try to do business with local companies
  • Request to see proof of certification and insurance
  • Check the repair service with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit, the Better Business Bureau and the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board
  • Ask for customer references
  • Get written estimates from several companies
  • Don’t do business without a written contract
  • Get all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing
  • Agree on start and completion dates, and have them in the contract.

If you think you are the victim of a scam or price gouging, call the Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029 or (918) 581-2885.

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