In an effort to prevent price gouging related to the impending storms, the state Office of Consumer Protection has placed a freeze on the price of consumer goods in Hawaii through at least Aug. 15.
Bruce Kim, office’s executive director, said Thursday that the freeze was put into effect with the emergency proclamation signed Wednesday by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.
Kim said that his office has already received more than 20 complaints of price gouging from consumers, most involve the sale of bottled water.
The law allows the Office of Consumer Protection to impose on retailers fines and penalties ranging from $500 up to $10,000 per violation.
Price gouging is defined as increases in the cost of vital consumer goods such as food, water, ice, gasoline, cooking fuel, batteries and generators, which is prohibited during a state disaster.
He said that if his investigators find any evidence of price gouging, his office will attempt to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law.
To report price gouging on Oahu, call 587-4272 and press 3 at the menu. Neighbor island residents call toll-free 274-3141, x62630# on Kauai, 984-2400 x.62630# on Maui, 974-4000 x.62630# on Hawaii island, 1-800-468-4644 on Molokai and Lanai.