IOWA DERECHO 2020

Iowa Attorney General investigator will be in Cedar Rapids next week to take price gouging complaints

Workers tarp the roof of one of the apartment units at Westdale Court Apartments, 2155 Westdale Dr. SW, in Cedar Rapids,
Workers tarp the roof of one of the apartment units at Westdale Court Apartments, 2155 Westdale Dr. SW, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. People are still cleaning up and without power after the Aug. 10 derecho. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

The Iowa Attorney General’s Office will set up a temporary office in Cedar Rapids next week to help residents with storm-related issues, including complaints about price gouging.

Investigator Al Perales of the Consumer Protection Division will be available Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the U.S. Cellular Center.

Perales can answer questions about price gouging, hiring contractors and avoiding scams, the office said in a news release Friday. He also can take consumer complaints.

The Attorney General’s Office reported earlier this week having received nearly 50 complaints about price gouging, with most of those coming from Cedar Rapids.

Linn County is now under two disaster declarations, from the derecho as well as the COVID pandemic. A disaster declaration triggers the state’s price-gouging rule, which forbids excessive prices for goods or services “needed by victims of disasters.”

That includes water, food, medicines, sanitation supplies, utilities, and building materials. An excessive price is one “not justified by the seller’s actual costs of acquiring, producing, selling, transporting, and delivering the actual product sold, plus a reasonable profit.”

If you think someone has broken the law, contact local law enforcement. If you feel you’ve been wronged, file a complaint with the Iowa Attorney General’s Office by calling 1 (888) 777-4590 or email consumer@ag.iowa.gov. You can also file a complaint online.

Comments: (319) 339-3157; erin.jordan@thegazette.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.