How to report price gouging after a natural disaster

Sept. 2, 2021

By Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog

As people from Louisiana up to New York deal with the aftermath of Ida, consumers should be on the lookout for price gougers. It's sad that some opportunists will use a disaster like Hurricane Ida to take advantage of people who need safe drinking water, food, ice, gasoline, building materials or emergency supplies. 

While laws vary by state, increases of 20 percent or more may be considered price gouging. There are few federal protections against price gouging; we need to pass comprehensive federal price gouging legislation. As of now, 37 states have some kind of anti-price gouging laws. Consumers are encouraged to file complaints if they suspect price gouging. All consumer complaints are public record and reporting these incidents can help build public pressure to create more protections at the federal level.

Price gouging protections generally go into effect when the governor or president declares a disaster. Each state's attorney general has the authority to prosecute any business that seeks to take advantage of a disaster by excessively increasing its prices.

How to spot price gouging
  • Extraordinarily high prices: High prices do not always mean that price gouging is occurring.
  • Businesses have the ability to determine the price for their product. But businesses are NOT allowed to raise the price of products to “exorbitant” or “excessive” prices to take advantage of a crisis.Err on the side of caution: If you aren’t sure whether a product is priced too high, it’s better to report suspected incidents to the company and the attorney general.
What to do if you see price gouging
  • Talk directly to the business: Businesses may be willing to lower the price if you voice your concern. Search for a customer service hotline or any available number and try to speak to a real person. If they are unable to address your concern, speaking to them will help strengthen your report to the attorney general.

  • Report potential price gouging incidents to your state attorney general.

How to report price gouging to the attorney general

You should take note of:

  1. The name of the store/vendor where you saw the item and their address. 

  2. Product details, including, but not limited to, the product type, brand, size, and price.

  3. The date, time, and location you saw the product.

  4. You can improve the investigation by providing a picture of the item.

  5. How you may have attempted to resolve the dispute, including the names of people you spoke with.

How do I file a complaint with the attorney general?

Most states accept complaints either by phone or online. Some accept emails too. See the list below to file a complaint in your state.

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