Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was on the phone this week with White River Now’s Gary Bridgman to discuss her office’s enforcement of price gouging laws through the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
“When the governor declared a state of emergency, that initiated our price gouging laws — which essentially mean you can’t be charged 10 percent more than you were before the emergency,” Rutledge told Gary B. “And it comes with very stiff penalties — a potential criminal conviction as well as a potential fine of up to $10,000.”
The AG said her office is working with stores and grocers across the state — not just Walmart, Kroger, and Harps — but also locally owned groceries and businesses, ensuring adherence to the law is upheld.
“We know the price of some items has gone up because they [the grocers] are being charged more for the price of eggs and beef, and we’re looking into that: why are our grocers being charged more during this time?” Rutledge said.
The attorney general noted, for the most part, the majority of businesses and other services are keeping in line with the laws, but there have been complaints.
“By and large, people are adhering to price gouging laws and not taking advantage of the folks,” Rutledge noted. “That being said, we received 3,000 calls last week alone. We’ve had 360 price gouging complaints with a couple of dozen active investigations because it applies not only to our retail stores, but it applies to individuals.”
For more information or to file a price gouging complaint, click the AG Rutledge’s COVID-19 resource page by clicking here or call her office at (800) 482-8982.
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