Bryan Cohen Jan. 13, 2014, 3:04pm

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Legal Newsline) - West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey urged consumers on Thursday to report any dramatic increases on the price of water, ice or other commodities in response to the state's water emergency.

Morrisey said that West Virginians overcharged by any business or individual should file a complaint with his Consumer Protection Division. Morrisey's office is concerned about price gouging as a result of the water emergency in Roane, Putnam, Kanawha, Logan, Lincoln, Jackson, Clay and Boone counties.

"It is illegal for any person or entity to inflate the price of water in times of emergency," Morrisey said. "We are hearing reports of price gouging going on already in the region. It is illegal and just plain wrong for a business to take advantage of consumers and West Virginians during an emergency."

Morrisey said his office would use any reports filed to identify offending individuals and businesses. He encouraged consumers who paid overly inflated prices to make a copy of the receipt and attach it to their complaint.

"While our hope is that these incidences are rare, they do sometimes occur," Morrisey said. "In those situations, we will aggressively prosecute anyone who has taken advantage of West Virginians in their time of need. We will have no mercy for businesses who try to make a quick buck by taking advantage of people."

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