OKLAHOMA CITY – After Gov. Fallin declared a state of emergency for all 77 counties, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced that the price gouging statue is currently in effect.
The Emergency Price Stabilization Act is currently in effect for all 77 counties after the state was hit with several severe storms that caused flooding, tornadoes and wind damage.
The law prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent for the price of goods and services. Attorney General Hunter says the law also allows his office to prosecute individuals who attempt to inflate prices of goods and services in an attempt to take advantage of storm victims.
“This law helps protect Oklahomans who are at their most vulnerable after a storm,” Attorney General Hunter said. “The last thing these families need is someone trying to take advantage of them. We also hope the law acts as a deterrent, preventing artificial price increases and reminds those considering breaking the law that they could face legal action by my office.”
The act is in effect for 30 days after the declared emergency. It remains in effect for another 180 days for prices of repairs, remodeling and construction. If convicted, individuals who break the law face fines of $10,000 per violation.
To avoid contractor fraud:
- Ask for referrals from people you trust and for references from contractors;
- Avoid fly-by-night companies and use local companies established in the community;
- Obtain written estimates from multiple contractors;
- Ensure roofers are registered with the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board by calling (405) 521-6550 or check the online database at http://cib.ok.gov/are-they-licensed;
- Be cautious of door-to-door solicitation, contractors who ask for a substantial up-front payment or request cash payment, use high pressure or aggressive sales tactics or resist the use of a written contract;
- Do not give out bank account information, social security or driver’s license numbers;
- If contractors identify themselves with a federal or state government agency, ask for credentials and call the agency they claim to be with.