JACKSON — Attorney General Jim Hood has released a statement informing Mississippians included in the designated emergency impact area created by Issac that the current state of emergency does not allow his office to enforce the price gouging statute.
“A state of emergency alone does not establish our ability to enforce the price gouging statute,” said Hood. “The governor must invoke the necessary language from the Mississippi emergency management laws.”
The Attorney General’s Office, Division of Consumer Protection, reports it has received numerous calls about upswings in prices, particularly at gas stations in the emergency area. However, because the price gouging statute is not currently in effect, any increase in prices is legal. When the statute is in effect, the law says that “the value received for all goods and services sold within the designated emergency impact area shall not exceed the prices ordinarily charged for comparable goods or services in the same market area at or immediately before the declaration of a state of emergency or local emergency. However, the value received may include: any expenses, the cost of the goods and services which are necessarily incurred in procuring such goods and services during a state of emergency or local emergency.”
“Even during a state of emergency, the law still allows a reasonable increase in prices to account for additional supply costs,” said Hood. “Retailers just have to be careful to keep their profit margin consistent with what they were getting prior to the proclamation allowing us to enforce the statute.”