Price Gouging State Statutes

Heather Morton 3/30/2020

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Price gouging refers to when retailers and others take advantage of spikes in demand by charging exorbitant prices for necessities, often after a natural disaster or other state of emergency. Thirty-six states, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia have statutes or regulations that defining price gouging during a time of disaster or emergency. In most states, price gouging is set as a violation of unfair or deceptive trade practices law. Most of these laws provide for civil penalties, as enforced by the state attorney general, while some state laws also enforce criminal penalties for price gouging violations.

PLEASE NOTE: The statutes and summaries should be used for general informational purposes and not as a legal reference. NCSL is unable to answer questions or provide guidance to citizens or businesses regarding price gouging laws and practices. If you have questions regarding price gouging or a retailer's practices, please contact your local law enforcement or the office of the attorney general.

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Price Gouging State Statutes
State Statutory Citation Applies to
Alabama Ala. Code §8-31-1 et seq. States of emergency
Alaska None  
Arizona None  
Arkansas Ark. Stat. Ann. §4-88-301 et seq. Emergencies and natural disasters
California

Cal. Business & Professions Code §13470.1

Must post maximum lawful selling price for motor vehicle fuel
Cal. Business & Professions Code §22449 Immigration consultants, attorneys, notaries public, and organizations accredited by the U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals
Cal. Government Code §8588.8 Requirement to post on internet
Cal. Penal Code §396 States of emergency or local emergencies
Colorado None  
Connecticut Conn. Gen. Stat. §29-319 Fuel emergency
Conn. Gen. Stat. §42-230 et seq. Disaster, transportation or other emergency declaration
Delaware None  
District of Columbia D.C. Code Ann. §28-4101 et seq.
2020 Act 247
Natural disasters and public health emergencies
Florida Fla. Stat. §501.160 States of emergency
Georgia

Ga. Code §10-1-393.4
Ga. Code §10-1-438

States of emergency
Guam Guam Code Ann. tit. 5, §32201
2020 Public Act 35-74
Disasters
Hawaii

Hawaii Rev. Stat. §127A-30
Hawaii Rev. Stat. §480-2

States of emergency
Idaho Idaho Code §48-603 Declared disaster or emergency
Illinois Ill. Admin. Code tit.14, §465.10 et seq. Petroleum products in market emergency
Indiana Ind. Code §4-6-9.1-1 et seq. Declared emergencies
Iowa Iowa Admin. Code §61-31.1 Disasters
Kansas Kan. Stat. Ann. §50-6,106 Disasters
Kentucky Ky. Rev. Stat. §367.372 et seq. States of emergency
Louisiana La. Rev. Stat. Ann. §29:732 States of emergency
Maine Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, §1105 Abnormal market disruption
Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 10, §1106 Profiteering in rents
Maryland 2020 Chapters 13 and 14 States of emergency and catastrophic health emergency
Massachusetts Code of Mass. Reg. tit. 940, §3.18 Petroleum products
Michigan Mich. Comp. Laws §445.903 Charging the consumer a price that is grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold.
Minnesota None  
Mississippi Miss. Code Ann. §75-24-25 States of emergency
Missouri Mo. Admin. Code tit. 15, §60-8.030 Extreme temporary conditions or disaster
Montana None  
Nebraska None  
Nevada None  
New Hampshire None  
New Jersey N.J. Rev. Stat. §56:8-107 et seq. Emergencies and disasters
New Mexico None  
New York N.Y. General Business Law §396-r Abnormal disruption of the market
N.Y. General Business Law §396-rr Milk
North Carolina N.C. Gen. Stat. §75-37 et seq. States of disaster, states of emergency, or abnormal market disruptions
N.C. Gen. Stat. §166A-19.23  
North Dakota None  
N. Mariana Islands Not available  
Ohio Ohio Rev. Code Ann. §1345.03

(A) No supplier shall commit an unconscionable act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction. Such an unconscionable act or practice by a supplier violates this section whether it occurs before, during, or after the transaction.

(B) In determining whether an act or practice is unconscionable, the following circumstances shall be taken into consideration:

(2) Whether the supplier knew at the time the consumer transaction was entered into that the price was substantially in excess of the price at which similar property or services were readily obtainable in similar consumer transactions by like consumers.
Oklahoma Okla. Stat. tit. 15, §777.1 et seq. Emergencies
Okla. Stat. tit. 62, §2203.1 et seq. Disaster relief materials
Oregon Or. Rev. Stat. §401.960 et seq. Abnormal disruption of market
Pennsylvania Pa. Stat. tit. 73, §232.1 et seq. Disaster emergencies
Puerto Rico

2017 Public Law 50
2017 Public Law 114
2019 Public Law 52

Disasters
Rhode Island R.I. Gen. Laws §6-13-21 State of emergency
R.I. Gen. Laws. §11-36-12 Profiteering on tickets for common carriers
R.I. Gen. Laws §39-12-13 Gasoline price emergency surcharge
R.I. Gen. Laws §39-14-2.2 Gasoline price emergency surcharge for taxis
South Carolina S.C. Code Ann. §16-7-10 State of emergency or disaster
S.C. Code Ann. §39-5-145 State of emergency
South Dakota None  
Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. §47-18-5101 et seq. Abnormal economic disruption
Texas Tex. Business & Commerce Code Ann. §17.46 Disasters
Tex. Business & Commerce Code Ann. §17.4625 Designated disaster period
Utah Utah Code Ann. §13-41-101 et seq. State of emergency
Vermont Vt. Stat. Ann. tit. 9, §2461d Petroleum and heating fuel products
Virginia Va. Code §59.1-525 et seq.
Va. Code §59.1-200
Disasters
U.S. Virgin Islands V.I. Code Ann. tit. 23, §1005 Emergencies and major disasters
Washington None  
West Virginia

W. Va. Code §46A-6J-1 et seq.

2020 SB 208
effective June 1, 2020

Emergencies and natural disasters
Wisconsin Wis. Stat. §100.305 Abnormal economic disruption
Wyoming None  

Heather Morton is a program principal in Fiscal Affairs. She covers financial services, alcohol production and sales, telecommunications and medical malpractice issues for NCSL.

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