Nov 9, 2009 3:05 PM by sleonard
BATON ROUGE, La.-- Governor Bobby Jindal's state of emergency declaration during Tropical storm Ida also puts into effect Louisiana's price gouging law. Some residents in the southern most parts of the state may have to evacuate as the storm approaches.
As residents heed the warnings to fill up their cars with gasoline, in case of evacuation, Attorney General James D. "Buddy" Caldwell says he has gained business' cooperation by assuring a tough stance against price gouging by anyone.
Our price gouging law will protect not only Louisiana citizens but also our coastal neighbors who may have to travel through Louisiana.
"We will not tolerate gouging of any kind," says the Attorney General. "Businesses have been very cooperative, welcome our involvement and are helping us police competitors.
Louisiana law states that once a state of emergency has been declared, merchants may not grossly raise the price of products without good reason. Unreasonable price increases are considered "price gouging" and subject to penalties. In an emergency situation, a merchant may increase the price only if they incur a "spike" in the price of doing business.
If you see a place of business you suspect is price gouging you can call our consumer protection hotline at 1-800-351-4889 or log onto www.agbuddycaldwell.com.
La. R.S. 29:372
Price gouging; prohibited
A. During a state of emergency as declared by the governor or as declared by the parish president, the prices charged or value received for goods and services sold within the designated emergency area may not exceed the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods and services in the same market area at or immediately before the time of the state of emergency, unless the price by the seller is attributable to fluctuations in applicable commodity markets, fluctuations in applicable regional or national market trends, or to reasonable expenses and charges and attendant business risk incurred in procuring or selling the goods or services during the state of emergency. Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, it shall not be deemed a violation of this Section if the prices charged for goods and services sold within the designated emergency area by an individual in the same market area, at or immediately before the time of the emergency, have not changed except as allowed herein during a state of emergency declared in accordance with this Section.
B. The prohibition as provided for in Subsection A of this Section is effective for an initial period not to exceed thirty days pursuant to the initial declared state of emergency as referenced in R.S. 29:724, and shall be renewed only by specific reference in any subsequent proclamations renewing the declared state of emergency by the governor.
C. Each sale or offer for sale in violation of this Section constitutes a separate offense.
D. The penalties provided in R.S. 29:734 are in addition to civil remedies provided by law, including attorney fees.
E. Local governing authorities may adopt appropriate ordinances to implement the provisions of this Section.
F.(1) Notwithstanding any provision of this Section to the contrary, this Section shall apply to gasoline or diesel fuel of any grade or formula sold or offered for sale within the designated emergency area for ultimate use in the operation of motor vehicles, generators, power tools, or small engines.
(2) For purposes of this Subsection, the term "sale" shall include any transaction involving the transfer of gasoline or diesel fuel at the terminal until purchase by the ultimate consumer at a service station, convenience store or other fixed retail facility.
G. Nothing in this Section shall be construed so as to create a private cause of action in favor of any person damaged by a violation of this Section.
Acts 1993, No. 800, §1, eff. June 22, 1993; Acts 2005, No. 149, §1; Acts 2008, No. 756, §1; Acts 2009, No. 494, §2; Acts 2009, No. 512, §1.