LOUISIANA — Attorney General Buddy Caldwell reminds citizens and businesses that Louisiana price gouging laws are in effect upon the state of emergency declaration by Governor Bobby Jindal in anticipation of Tropical Storm Karen.
It’s important to remember that not all price increases are considered price gouging. Price gouging occurs when a seller prices goods or services much higher than is reasonable under market conditions.
The price gouging statute prohibits the raising of prices above the pre-emergency levels when there is no accompanying national or regional market commodity shortage. This means that sellers of gasoline and petroleum products, hotels, motels, and retailers are prohibited from raising prices during this state of emergency unless they incur a verifiable increase in the price they have to pay as part of doing business.
Product shortages, rig and refinery shutdowns, and global markets can all cause the price of goods and services to increase. These verifiable, market influenced cost increases may lawfully be passed on to the consumer. The price gouging laws carry both civil and criminal penalties.
This state of emergency extends from Thursday, Oct. 3 through Friday, Nov. 1, unless terminated sooner. Suspected price gouging should be reported to local law enforcement officials, the district attorney, or the Louisiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at (800) 351-4889.