Attorney General Investigators, Lawyers Comb Metro-Detroit for Price Gougers State Employees to Staff Consumer Protection Hotline on Saturday
August 15, 2003
Lansing, MI With power outages still impacting southeast Michigan and escalating reports of price gouging, Attorney General Mike Cox has sent investigators and lawyers from his office into metro-Detroit to record any price gouging of essential items like gas, ice and water.
Departing from the standard procedure of only responding to verified consumer complaints, Cox chose to proactively send out his legal team to help stave off any potential violations of the Consumer Protection Act. If a retail outlet is gouging consumers, Coxs team will immediately issue a Notice of Intended Action (NIA) and Opportunity to Cease and Desist.
No crisis, no matter what the cause, gives someone the legal right to gouge consumers for essential goods and services, said Cox. I have sent my legal team into metro-Detroit and ordered them to take immediate legal action if they find any evidence of price gouging. Anyone that fails to comply with the law runs the risk of being fined up to $25,000.
If a consumer feels that a business is engaging in price gouging, they should immediately send the Attorney Generals office the following information: the name and address of the business and either a receipt or picture of the advertised price. A price comparison on the goods prior to the power failure is also helpful.
Under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act a retailer is prohibited from charging a price that is grossly excessive and can suffer a penalty of up to $25,000.
In response to the high volume of consumer complaints, Cox has also arranged for state employees to work overtime from 8:30am to 4:30pm Saturday in order to have a live person instead of a recorded voice answering the Consumer Protection Hotline (877-765-8388). Depending upon the volume of calls, employees may also work on Sunday. Complaints can also be filed on the Attorney Generals website: www.michigan.gov/ag.
For further information contact:
State of Michigan, Department of Attorney General