For Immediate Release - May 03, 2010

Attorney General's Office Establishes Hotline for Reporting of Price Gouging for Bottled Water

BOSTON - In response to reports of price gouging for bottled water as a result of the water emergency in Boston and surrounding communities, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has established a dedicated telephone hotline for members of the public to report suspected price gouging. Individuals who have observed merchants who may have unfairly increased the price of bottled water as a result of the water emergency should call the following number: (617) 963-2400.

Consumers should leave a message providing the name and address of the merchant, and an outline of the facts of the suspected price increase. Callers are also asked to leave their name and contact information. While the Attorney General's Office will not respond to every report, the office will monitor reports for trends.

"Businesses and individuals cannot and should not take advantage of this public emergency to unfairly charge consumers far beyond what they would typically charge for water," said Attorney General Coakley. "We encourage consumers to report instances in which they believe that the price of water has been sharply raised to take advantage of the water emergency, and we are prepared to take appropriate legal action if necessary."

Consumers may also report suspected price gouging online by filing a consumer complaint on the Attorney General's website: www.mass.gov/ago/consumercomplaints. In addition, the Attorney General's Office will be sending out inspectors to review reports of price gouging and will also conduct spot-checks of local businesses to assure that consumers are being protected.

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