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Kemp Declares State of Emergency due to Colonial Pipeline Cyber Incident, Invokes Price Gouging Statute

 On May 10, 2021, Governor Brian P. Kemp declared a  State of Emergency(read below)  as a result of the petroleum shortage from the May 7, 2021 cyber-attack on the Colonial Pipeline. The State of Emergency will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. on May 15, 2021. When Gov. Kemp declared this State of Emergency, Georgia’s price gouging statutes were activated. This means that while the State of Emergency remains in effect, businesses may not charge more for products and services identified by the Governor, including motor fuel and diesel fuel, than they charged before the declaration of the state of emergency, unless the increased prices accurately reflect an increase in the cost of new stock or the cost to transport it, plus the retailer’s average markup percentage applied during the ten days immediately prior to the declaration of the state of emergency. Under the Price Gouging Statutes, the Department of Law’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) receives and evaluates reports related to a rise in the costs of goods and services after the declaration is made.

“While we believe this to be a short-term event, we do not want consumers to be taken advantage of,” said Attorney General Carr. “Our office will review all price gouging complaints received to ensure the law is followed.”

Consumers should also be aware that the Public Health State of Emergency originally issued by the Governor on March 14, 2020 to assist with the state’s response to Covid-19 is currently in effect through May 30, 2021. That order prohibits price gouging of goods and services necessary to support public health.

Violators of Georgia’s price gouging statutes may be fined up to $5,000 per violation. Consumers can report suspected price gouging by calling 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123 (outside metro Atlanta) or completing the online complaint form on CPD’S website (consumer.ga.gov).

Businesses looking for additional information about compliance with the Price Gouging Statutes can visit the CPD web site at consumer.ga.gov, go to the “Business Services” tab and then click on “Emergency Price Controls.”

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