Reports of bottled-water price-gouging are popping up on social media and web forums from Toldeo-area residents following this weekend's algal-bloom pollution. This morning, the Ohio AG's office issued the following price-gouging primer with reporting info for consumers:
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine today said that his office is actively monitoring possible price gouging complaints regarding bottled water as a result of Toledo's water crisis.
"We have seen the best of many Ohioans who have generously helped those needing water in the Toledo area, but we also have heard allegations of possible price gouging in the area," Attorney General DeWine said. "We are actively monitoring complaints related to the Toledo water crisis. Those who think they are overpaying for water should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office immediately and provide information about where the water was being sold and the price paid."
The Ohio Attorney General's Office is sending representatives to monitor water prices in the Toledo area.
Laws that address price gouging vary from state to state. While Ohio does not have a statute that deals directly with price gouging, state law bans unconscionable sales practices.
A practice could be considered unconscionable if the supplier knew at the time of the transaction that the price was substantially higher than the price at which similar goods or services could be readily obtained. It is also an unfair and deceptive practice to dramatically increase the price of in-stock products based solely in response to current events.
Consumers who suspect price gouging or other unfair business practices should contact the Ohio Attorney General's Office by calling 800-282-0515 or visiting www.OhioAttorneyGeneral.gov. Consumers should submit as much information and documentation as possible with their complaints.