MACON, Ga. — During times of an emergency, price gouging complaints usually go up according to the Better Business Bureau. We spoke with Kelvin Collins to learn what you should do if you think you're being ripped off.
"When people think of price gouging, they typically think of gas stations, hotels, and things like that," Kelvin Collins, CEO and President of Better Business Bureau of Central Georgia.
Collins says consumers should keep a close eye on prices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"In certain situations where you find bottled water that is being sold for $2.79 for a 24-pack, and then right after the emergency, is being sold for $25," Collins said.
In March, Governor Brian Kemp issued an order against price gouging goods and services necessary to support Public Health that would be detrimental to the social and economic welfare of Georgians. So what should you do if you feel something is unfairly priced?
"You can click on the BBB scam tracker, and you can enter that information and my staff will take that and investigate if it and see if it warrants passing it on, we pass it on to the media, we pass it on to law enforcement, whatever needs to be done," Collins said.
You can also go to the attorney general's office to file a complaint. Once the investigation is complete, the business could face a fine.
"Penalties can range from $2-$15,000 per occurrence, so a business can rack up quite a bill if it's known," Collins said.
Collins says the investigation could take a day, three weeks, or longer time depending on the severity and proof. In some cases, he says the business will be notified about unfair prices.
"We're only a couple of weeks into this, so I expect the real scams to pick up later," Collins said.
Collins added this is a time to support local businesses instead of larger chains. He says they are less likely to price gouge in some cases.
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