Kentuckians urged to report price gouging instances

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FRANKFORT, KY. (WTVQ) Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking Kentuckians to report instances of price gouging to his office now that a state of emergency has been declared in Kentucky due to recent storms.

“Kentuckians should never be subjected to price gouging by retailers and this is especially true during a natural disaster,” Beshear said. “My office and all of its resources stand ready to investigate and even prosecute cases of identifiable predatory pricing now that the governor has implemented the price gouging laws to help protect Kentucky consumers. During this time of crisis, we are asking Kentuckians to be cautious when purchasing goods and services.”

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Beshear is encouraging anyone with specific information regarding possible price gouging to contact the Office of the Attorney General at 888-432-9257 or e-mail consumerprotection@ky.gov.

According to officials, the emergency order triggers Kentucky’s consumer protection measures the next 30 days, and the protective measures may be extended beyond 30 days if needed.

“The governor’s order empowers the Attorney General’s office to be on the lookout on behalf of consumers, and enables our office to prosecute, where appropriate, any instances of price gouging including, generators, building supplies, chainsaws, hotel rooms and other necessary goods and services at an exorbitant price in a time of disaster.”

Beshear issued a scam alert last summer after heavy storms caused flood damage to many areas of the state. Beshear’s scam alert is to remind Kentuckians that con artists routinely prey on victims’ post-disaster stress by posing as someone who claims they can help.

Common schemes include phony contractors seeking quick payment for repair services they promise and never provide, or a bogus loan company employee who offers to provide financing for expensive repairs, according to Beshear.

Beshear asks those impacted by the recent storms to be on the lookout for con artists who:

  • Demand full payment up front or in cash.
  • Do not have a physical business address.
  • Refuse to show proper identification.
  • Ask consumers to disclose personal financial information to “speed up payment” or to start the repair or lending process.
  • Ask consumers to borrow money to pay for the repairs, or steers consumers toward a particular lender or tries to act as an intermediary between the consumer and a lender.
  • Ask consumers to sign documents without reviewing them.

Kentuckians are encouraged to research reviews of businesses online and confirm any potential issues with the Better Business Bureau (Louisville/Western Kentucky: 800-388-2222, Lexington/Eastern Kentucky: 800-866-6668). Consumers may also check the Secretary of State’s website to verify the business is registered and is in good standing.

To help Kentuckians stay up-to-date on new and trending scams, Beshear launched Scam Alerts – a communications service that alerts Kentuckians when con artists are on the attack. To sign up for Scam Alerts, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311). Or, enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.

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Amber grew up on the beaches of the Space Coast of Florida, but comes to Lexington from the Western Slope of Colorado, where she was the evening news anchor for the CBS affiliate in town. The change from flip flops to snow boots was a major culture shock, but she fell in love with the mountains, beautiful scenery, amazing people and endless opportunities to explore the western terrain. However, as a Gator and graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, she’s excited to be in Kentucky and back in SEC territory. She feels fortunate to have spent almost two decades working in various aspects all across the country in the world of television. From news to film, TV, and commercials, Amber has always loved the close connection the industry provides with the community and enjoys bringing breaking news to viewer’s homes, helping keep everyone aware of what’s happening. Telling people’s stories is her passion, and she’s learned everyone has something interesting to contribute, and many of the best lessons come from the most unlikely sources. While in Colorado, she covered a variety of stories, including the major changes, issues and solutions as medicinal and recreational marijuana are introduced across America. Like many Lexington residents, horses are Amber’s first love, and she’s so happy to be living in the Horse Capital of the World. Equine Science was actually her initial college major, with the intentions of becoming a veterinarian, so she has the utmost respect for everyone in the industry. She was a member of the University of Florida’s Equestrian team, Block and Bridle Club, and grew up riding and showing horses. She was extremely active in the 4-H Equine Horse Judging and Hippology programs and even competed at the Kentucky Horse Park on various occasions. Amber can’t wait to get involved in anything and everything horse related in the area. Her other hobbies include running, dancing, traveling, hiking, exploring, reading and art. She loves sports and can’t wait to attend games here in town. Amber loves meeting new people and trying new things. Traveling the world has inspired a list of what to do, where to go next, and what adventures await. She’s hoping to jump right into the Lexington lifestyle! Please send any and all ideas and thoughts for stories, things to do and try, etc etc and connect with her on both Facebook and Twitter: @AmberFreemanTV or email at Afreeman@wtvq.com.