An investigation into reports of price-gouging is underway by the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.  AG Chris Koster believes water well drillers in Northwest Missouri may be profiting from the drought disaster.  Koster said because Missouri is under a State of Emergency, the act is an unlawful business practice.  Governor Jay Nixon made the disaster declaration on Monday.  Anyone who suspects price-gouging should contact the AG’s office.

Press Release from the Office of Attorney General Chris Koster

Attorney General Chris Koster said today he is investigating reports of possible price-gouging by water well drillers in Northwest Missouri. Koster reminds businesses and consumers that Missouri is under a State of Emergency, and price-gouging in a declared disaster is an unlawful business practice under Missouri law.

“My office will move aggressively and immediately against any business that engages in price-gouging in the midst of the most extreme drought conditions in Missouri in 50 years,” Koster said. “Whether it involves drilling wells for farmers or maintenance of air conditioners for senior citizens, substantial and unwarranted price increases so long as we remain under the State of Emergency will not be tolerated.”

Governor Jay Nixon declared Missouri to be in a State of Emergency July 23. The Governor has also made available $7 million from the State Soil and Water Reserve fund to assist farmers with drilling or deepening water wells or expanding irrigation systems.

Koster urges anyone who suspects price-gouging in any service or product related to the drought to contact his Consumer Protection Hotline at 800-392-8222 or to file a consumer complaint online at ago.mo.gov.

“This is a difficult time and the situation may yet become even more challenging,” Koster said. “It is important that we look after our fellow citizens and report those who seek to take advantage of the continuing drought conditions.”