PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – The attorney general's office received six price gouging complaints during a weekend snowstorm that dumped more than two feet of snow across the state and forced Gov. Lincoln Chafee to declare a state of emergency, WPRI.com has learned.
"Our employees in the Consumer Protection Unit are contacting each person to have them file a formal consumer complaint before it can be reviewed," spokeswoman Amy Kempe told WPRI.com. "The complaints were about the price of gas, price of milk and one complaint about a propane delivery charge."
State law bars businesses from raising rates for essential items during a state of emergency or federal disaster declaration.
According to the attorney general's office, the maximum penalty is $1,000 for every violation, with a maximum $25,000 penalty for any 24-hour period.
"As a rule, Rhode Islanders always come together in times of crises to help each other out," Attorney General Peter Kilmartin said before the storm. "Since I have taken office, we have not had a single reported case of a Rhode Island business taking advantage of their neighbors in need. Yet, it is important to remind everyone to be aware of potential price gouging and to report any incidents to our office."