Consumer Affairs Warns of Price Gouging


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 30, 2009)– Consumers expressed concerns about surges in kerosene prices at retail outlets as a consequence of high demand for the fuel in the wake of the harsh winter weather in parts of Kentucky and Tennessee.

Tennessee Consumer Affairs Director Mary Clement warned public about possible abuse, “Retail outlets that unreasonably or excessively raise the price of commodities during an emergency or crisis in order to take advantage of consumers are price gouging, which is illegal,” she said.

On Tuesday, the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency activated the state emergency operations center to prepare for and respond to the ice storm. Hit by large power outages, Kentucky residents have been driving into Tennessee to get fuel and kerosene.

The Division of Consumer Affairs warns consumers to be on the lookout for potential price gougers. Consumers may contact the Division of Consumer Affairs at 615-741-4737 or toll free at 800-342-8385 to report incidences of suspected price gouging. Consumers will need to provide the name of the business, address and the price of the product being sold.

Consumers are encouraged to send copies of receipts showing the cost of the purchase.  One good way to report activity is by a taking cell phone or digital pictures of the pump prices or price signs and e-mailing them to http://www.consumer.affairs@tn.gov. “This can help tremendously in investigating and following through with claims of price gouging,” Clement said.

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