Here's how to report price gouging on gasoline or anything else

While businesses are permitted to charge higher prices in response to market forces, they aren’t allowed in states with price gouging laws to increase prices excessively to take advantage of a emergency such as the pipeline shutdown, a hurricane or the pandemic. 

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Teresa Murray
Consumer Watchdog

Author: Teresa Murray

Consumer Watchdog

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Kent State University

Teresa directs the Consumer Watchdog office, which looks out for consumers' health, safety and financial security. Previously, she worked as a journalist and columnist covering consumer issues and personal finance for two decades for Ohio's largest daily newspaper. She's earned dozens of state and national journalism awards, including Best Columnist in Ohio, Best Business Writer in Ohio, and National Headliner Award for coverage of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Among the accomplishments she’s most proud of: A journalism public service award for exposing improper billing practices by Verizon that affected at least 15 million customers nationwide. Her work caused Verizon to reach an $80 million settlement with the FCC, the largest ever imposed at that time. Teresa and her husband live in Greater Cleveland and have two sons and a dog. She enjoys biking, house projects and music, and serves on her church missions team and stewardship board.

Gas prices shot up this week to their highest levels in seven years, largely because of the shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline last weekend following a cyber attack.

The national average for gasoline has jumped 8 cents per gallon in the last week, to $3.01, according to AAA. It’s the first time the national average hit $3 since 2014.

In some areas, prices have increased more dramatically, leading to questions of price gouging. For states that have laws against price gouging, most of them don’t recognize a possible violation until the state has declared an emergency. As of Wednesday afternoon, at least four states have declared an emergency surrounding the pipeline shutdown. They are FloridaGeorgia, North Carolina and Virginia.

While businesses are permitted to charge higher prices in response to market forces, they aren’t allowed in states with price gouging laws to increase prices excessively to take advantage of a emergency such as the pipeline shutdown, a hurricane or the pandemic. Different states have different benchmarks for what’s excessive, but often, price increases of 20 percent may qualify as price gouging.

Gas prices on Wednesday were highest out West and in Illinois, followed by states such as Pennsylvania, New York, Georgia and Colorado, according to AAA. You can look up the average in your state here.

Consumers who believe gas stations in their state are price gouging can report the issue to their state attorney general. Here’s the information you should provide:

  1. The name of state and the address.

  2. The price and the type of gasoline.

  3. The date and time.

  4. Photo evidence.

In part because of the shutdown and in part because some consumers fear shortages, more drivers are filling up to guard against an empty tank. Numerous states are reporting huge numbers of gas stations have run out of gas, according to GasBuddy. Most are in the Southeast and include: 65 percent of stations in North Carolina, more than 40 percent of stations in Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia, 16 percent of stations in Tennessee, and 6 to 11 percent of stations in Alabama, Florida, Maryland and Washington DC.

 

How can I report price gouging?

You should report suspected price gouging to the company and your state’s attorney general. Here’s the contact information for each state’s attorney general:

 

Alabama 

Online Report Form: https://www.alabamaag.gov/consumercomplaint

Phone Number: 334-242-7335 

 

Alaska

Online Report Form: http://www.law.state.ak.us/department/civil/consumer/cp_complaint.html

Phone Number: 907-269-5200

E-mail: consumerprotection@alaska.gov 

 

Arizona

Online Report Form: https://consumer-complaint.azag.gov/publiccomplaint/begin.aspx

Phone Number: (602) 542-5763

E-mail: consumerinfo@azag.gov 

 

Arkansas

Online Report Form: https://arkansasag.gov/covid19/report/

Phone Number: (501) 682-2007

E-mail: consumer@ArkansasAG.gov

 

California

Online Report Form: https://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company

 

Colorado

Online Report Form: https://coag.gov/file-complaint/report-consumer-fraud/

Phone Number: 720-508-6000

 

Connecticut

Online Report Form: https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/

Phone Number: 860-808-5420

E-mail: Attorney.General@ct.gov

 

Delaware 

Online Report Form: https://attorneygeneral.delaware.gov/fraud/cpu/complaint/

Phone Number: (302) 577-8600

E-mail: attorney.general@delaware.gov 

 

Florida

Online Report Form: http://www.myfloridalegal.com/Contact.nsf/PriceGouging!OpenForm

Phone Number: (866) 9NO-SCAM  

 

Georgia

Online Report Form: http://ocp.ga.gov/form/consumer-complaint/step1

Phone Number: (404) 651-8600

 

Hawaii

Report Form: https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/files/2018/02/Complaint-Form-and-Instruction-2018-WEB.pdf

Phone Number: (808) 586-2630

E-mail: ocp@dcca.hawaii.gov 

 

Idaho

Online Report Form: https://www.ag.idaho.gov/office-resources/online-forms/?form=File%20a%20Complaint&complaint=Consumer%20Complaint

Phone Number: 208-334-2400

 

Illinois

Online Report Form: https://ccformsubmission.ilattorneygeneral.net/

Phone Number: 1-800-386-5438 (Chicago)

1-800-243-0618 (Springfield)

1-800-243-0607 (Carbondale)

Línea Gratuita en Español: 1-866-310-8398

 

Indiana

Online Report Form: https://indianaattorneygeneral.secure.force.com/ConsumerComplaintForm

Phone Number: 317.232.6330

 

Iowa

Online Report Form: https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/for-consumers/file-a-consumer-complaint/complaint-form

Phone Number: 515-281-5926

E-mail: consumer@ag.iowa.gov

 

Kansas

Online Report Form: https://ag.ks.gov/complaint-center/consumer

Phone Number: (785) 296-3751 

 

Kentucky

Online Report Form: https://secure.kentucky.gov/formservices/AttorneyGeneral/PriceGougingComplaintForm

Phone Number: 1-888-432-9257

 

Louisiana

Online Report Form: http://www.ag.state.la.us/Form/Consumer/Dispute

Phone Number: 225-326-6465 

 

Maine

Online Report Form: https://www.maine.gov/ag/consumer/complaints/complaint_form.shtml

Phone Number: (207) 626-8849

E-mail: consumer.mediation@maine.gov

 

Maryland

Online Report Form: https://web.oag.state.md.us/editor/customer/onlineformhelpers/formviewer.aspx?filename=MUGeneral.htm

Phone Number: 410-528-8662

E-mail: consumer@oag.state.md.us

 

Massachusetts

Online Report Form: https://www.mass.gov/how-to/file-a-consumer-complaint

Phone Number: (617) 727-8400

E-mail: ago@state.ma.us

 

Michigan

Online Report Form: https://secure.ag.state.mi.us/complaints/consumer.aspx

Phone Number: 517-335-7622

E-mail: miag@michigan.go

 

Minnesota

Online Report Form: https://www.ag.state.mn.us/Office/Forms/ConsumerAssistanceRequest.asp

Phone Number: (651) 296-3353

 

Mississippi

Phone Number: 601-359-3680

 

Missouri

Online Report Form: http://ago.mo.gov/app/consumercomplaint

Phone Number: 800-392-8222

E-mail: consumer.help@ago.mo.gov

 

Montana

Online Report Form: https://app.doj.mt.gov/apps/oscar/complaintstart.aspx

Phone Number: 406-444-4500

E-mail: contactocp@mt.gov

 

Nebraska

Online Report Form: https://protectthegoodlife.nebraska.gov/file-consumer-complaint

Phone Number: (800) 727-6432

E-mail: ago.consumer@nebraska.gov

 

Nevada

Online Report Form: http://ag.nv.gov/Complaints/File_Complaint/

Phone Number: (775) 684-1100

 

New Hampshire 

Online Report Form (requires registration): https://www.doj.nh.gov/consumer/complaints/index.htm

Phone Number: 603-271-3641

E-mail: DOJ-CPB@doj.nh.gov 

 

New Jersey

Online Report Form: https://njconsumeraffairs.state.nj.us/file-a-complaint/

Phone Number: 973.504.6200

E-mail: askconsumeraffairs@dca.lps.state.nj.us 

 

New Mexico

Online Report Form: https://secure.nmag.gov/ecs

Phone Number: (505) 490-4060

 

New York

Online Report Form: https://ag.ny.gov/price-gouging-complaint-form

Phone Number: 1-800-771-7755 

 

North Carolina

Online Report Form: https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/consumer-complaint/

Phone Number: (877)-5NO-SCAM

 

North Dakota

Online Report Form: https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/consumer-resources/consumer-complaints/general-complaint

Phone Number: 1-800-472-2600

E-mail: ndag@nd.gov 

 

Ohio

Online Report Form: https://www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov/Individuals-and-Families/Consumers/File-A-Complaint.aspx

Phone Number: 800-282-0515

 

Oklahoma

Phone Number: (405) 521-2029

E-mail: consumerprotection@oag.ok.gov

 

Oregon

Online Report Form: https://justice.oregon.gov/consumercomplaints/OnlineComplaints/OnlineComplaintForm/en

Phone Number: 503-378-8442 

 

Pennsylvania 

Online Report Form: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov/submit-a-complaint/

Phone Number: 717-787-3391

 

Rhode Island

Online Report Form: https://riag.wufoo.com/forms/q1851amb1bdd4d5/

Phone Number: (401) 274-4400

E-mail: consumers@riag.ri.gov

 

South Carolina

Online Report Form (requires registration): https://applications.sc.gov/DCAComplaintSystem/Login/ConsumerLogin.aspx

Phone Number: 803-737-3953

E-mail: pricegouging@scag.gov

 

South Dakota

Online Report Form: https://atg.sd.gov/complaintform.aspx

Phone Number: (605) 773-4400

E-mail: consumerhelp@state.sd.us

 

Tennessee 

Online Report Form (requires registration): https://www.tn.gov/attorneygeneral/working-for-tennessee/consumer/file-a-complaint.html

Phone Number: (615) 741-4737

 

Texas

Online Report Form: http://txoag.force.com/CPDOnlineForm

Phone Number: (800) 621-0508

 

Utah

Online Report Form: https://attorneygeneral.utah.gov/contact/complaint-form/

Phone Number: 1-801-366-0260

E-mail: uag@agutah.gov

 

Vermont

Online Report Form: https://agocapcomplaint.atg.state.vt.us/forms/consumer-assistance-program-complaint-form/

Phone Number: (802) 656-3183

E-mail: AGO.CAP@vermont.gov

 

Virginia 

Report Form: https://www.oag.state.va.us/consumer-protection/files/PriceGougingComplaintFormOAG.pdf

Phone Number: (804) 786-2042

 

Washington

Online Report Form: https://fortress.wa.gov/atg/formhandler/ago/ComplaintForm.aspx

Phone Number: 1-206-464-6684

 

West Virginia 

Online Report Form: https://ago.wv.gov/Pages/consumercomplaint.aspx

Phone Number: 304-558-8986

E-mail: consumer@wvago.gov

 

Wisconsin

Online Report Form: https://datcp.wi.gov/Pages/Programs_Services/FileConsumerComplaint.aspx

Phone Number: (800) 422-7128 

E-mail: DATCPHotline@wisconsin.gov

 

Wyoming

Online Report Form: http://ag.wyo.gov/cpu/consumer-complaints

Phone Number: 307-777-6397

E-mail: ag.consumer@wyo.gov

 

 

 

Teresa Murray
Consumer Watchdog

Author: Teresa Murray

Consumer Watchdog

 

Started on staff: 2020
B.A., Kent State University

Teresa directs the Consumer Watchdog office, which looks out for consumers' health, safety and financial security. Previously, she worked as a journalist and columnist covering consumer issues and personal finance for two decades for Ohio's largest daily newspaper. She's earned dozens of state and national journalism awards, including Best Columnist in Ohio, Best Business Writer in Ohio, and National Headliner Award for coverage of the 2008-09 financial crisis. Among the accomplishments she’s most proud of: A journalism public service award for exposing improper billing practices by Verizon that affected at least 15 million customers nationwide. Her work caused Verizon to reach an $80 million settlement with the FCC, the largest ever imposed at that time. Teresa and her husband live in Greater Cleveland and have two sons and a dog. She enjoys biking, house projects and music, and serves on her church missions team and stewardship board.