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What is gas price gouging and what can you do about it?

The state provides a website for Tennesseans to report price gouging.
Published: May. 11, 2021 at 8:19 PM EDT|Updated: May. 11, 2021 at 10:16 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Tennessee’s price gouging laws make it illegal to charge “unreasonable prices for essential goods and services” during times of emergency, according to the state website.

Price gouging laws only apply to certain essential items like food, emergency supplies, building materials, housing and gasoline.

The state said it is a violation of the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act for any person to “unreasonably raise prices or unreasonably restrict supplies of essential goods, commodities or services in direct response to a crime, act of terrorism, war, or natural disaster, regardless of whether such crime, act of terrorism, war, or natural disaster occurred in the state of Tennessee.”

This means that it is unlawful to charge excessive prices for fuel during the ongoing Colonial Pipeline incident.

The state also supplies a website for submitting tips concerning price gouging. However, the state strongly suggests contacting the place of business directly before submitting a tip because the process of resolving the dispute can be lengthy.

After submitting a tip, the state then sends the business a copy of the complaint along with a letter requesting they contact the consumer directly. If the business is not willing to cooperate, the person who submitted the tip may evoke legal action, the state said.

Should a business be found guilty of price gouging, it could lose its license.

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