Price Gouging and Gas Prices
Price gouging means increasing the price of an item for sale by more than could be justified in the ordinary course of business market fluctuations.
Gas prices fluctuate constantly, and price changes and price increases are normal. However, in the last few weeks, we have seen what is called “an abnormal market disruption” due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ensuing war.
During an abnormal market disruption, it is unlawful to charge an “unconscionably excessive price” for energy resources, including gasoline, electricity, and home heating oil. An “unconscionably excessive price” may occur when there is a gross disparity between the price during the market disruption and the price in the ordinary course of business immediately prior to the market disruption and the price is not attributable to additional costs.
Acting in coordination with the Department of Consumer Protection, the Office of the Attorney General may file suit against price gougers and seek appropriate relief, including injunctive terms, restraining orders, restitution, and civil financial penalties designed to deter future unscrupulous sellers.
Anyone who suspects price gouging should file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General online at https://www.dir.ct.gov/ag/complaint/.
If you file a complaint, here are some tips:
- Use our online complaint portal;
- Identify the specific location of the gas station or business;
- Identify the date and time of the offer or sale;
- Include documentation, especially receipts.
If consumers are unable to file a complaint online or via email, they can call the Office of the Attorney General at 860-808-5318.
Coronavirus and Price Gouging:
Price gouging and taking advantage of people during a crisis is wrong and during civil preparedness and public health emergencies, it is also against Connecticut law.
During the COVID-19 pandemic the Office of the Attorney General received more than 750 complaints of price gouging on supplies like face masks, hand sanitizer, and COVID tests.
For information about Coronavirus and Price Gouging, click here.