Attorney General: Price gouging law in effect for Louisiana

Even though forecasters have moved Tropical Storm Debby's projected path farther to the east, Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell is warning businesses about price gouging laws that went into effect following Governor Jindal's emergency declaration.

Caldwell's office routinely sends reminders to the public regarding Louisiana's price gouging laws after states of emergency are declared.

The state law is intended to combat rapid increases on the prices of gasoline, hotels, and other items. Caldwell's office said the law carries both civil and criminal penalties for convictions.

The following is a press release from the Louisiana Attorney General's office:

Price Gouging Law in Effect Following State of Emergency Declaration

BATON ROUGE--Attorney General Buddy Caldwell reminds citizens and businesses that Louisiana price gouging laws are in effect following the state of emergency declaration from Governor Bobby Jindal as a result of emergency conditions created by Tropical Storm Debby.

Price gouging occurs when a seller prices merchandise much higher than is reasonable or fair. The price gouging statute prohibits the raising of prices above the pre-emergency levels unless there is a 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 spike in the prices they have to pay as part of doing business. The price gouging laws carry both civil and criminal penalties.

This state of emergency extends from Sunday, June 24, 2012 through Tuesday, July 24, 2012, unless terminated sooner. If you suspect price gouging, please contact the Louisiana Attorney General's Office at 800-351-4889 and your local law enforcement officials.