Nixon sues businesses accused of price gouging after winter storm

Friday, February 16, 2007

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Attorney General Jay Nixon announced Thursday his office has filed lawsuits against six businesses and settled with two others accused of price gouging after a winter storm hit the state last month.

The companies are along or near the Interstate 44 corridor from Joplin to St. Robert. They are accused of charging inflated prices for hotel rooms, gasoline, kerosene and portable generators.

"In a situation such as this, with prices for these necessities showing wild fluctuations, we put in hundreds of hours examining market data for gas prices and hotel room rates before the storm hit and found significant differences in what the businesses charged in the aftermath," Nixon said in a prepared statement he read during news conferences in Springfield and Joplin.

Nixon said his office logged 408 complaints about gouging after an ice storm, which hit the state from Jan. 12 to 14, knocked out electricity to more than 330,000 customers from Joplin to St. Louis.

More than 40 investigations are ongoing.

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