|BILL AS INTRODUCED||2007-2008|
Introduced by Representatives Moran of Wardsboro, Consejo of Sheldon, Fitzgerald of St. Albans City, Klein of East Montpelier, Martin of Springfield, Masland of Thetford, Mrowicki of Putney, Pearson of Burlington, Pillsbury of Brattleboro and Zenie of Colchester
Subject: Commerce; consumer fraud; price gouging
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to expand the petroleum price gouging prohibition to apply in situations, other than during market emergencies, if the price is grossly in excess of the price at which similar product is sold.
AN ACT RELATING TO PETROLEUM PRICE GOUGING WHEN A MARKET EMERGENCY IS NOT IN EFFECT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 9 V.S.A. § 2461d is amended to read:
§ 2461d. PRICE GOUGING OF PETROLEUM PRODUCTS AND
HEATING FUEL PRODUCTS
(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section:
(1) A “market emergency” shall be declared by the governor. The market emergency shall continue for 30 days or until terminated by the governor. The governor may extend the market emergency for additional
30-day periods. “Market emergency” means any abnormal disruption of any market for petroleum products or heating fuel products, including any actual or threatened shortage in the supply of petroleum products or heating fuel products or any actual or threatened increase in the price of petroleum products or heating fuel products resulting from severe weather, convulsion of nature, supply manipulation, failure or shortage of electric power or other source of energy, strike, civil disorder, act of war, terrorist attack, national or local emergency, or other extraordinary adverse circumstances.
(2) “Petroleum or heating fuel product” means motor fuels, liquefied petroleum gas, fuel oil, kerosene, and wood pellets used for heating or cooking purposes.
(3) “Petroleum or heating fuel-related business” means any producer, supplier, wholesaler, distributor, or retail seller of any petroleum or heating fuel product.
is an unfair and deceptive act and practice in commerce and a violation of
section 2453 of this title for any petroleum or heating fuel-related business
a market emergency or seven days prior thereto to sell or offer to sell any
petroleum product or heating fuel product for an amount that represents an
unconscionably high price.
(c) A price is unconscionably high if:
amount charged during
the a market emergency or seven days prior
thereto represents a gross disparity between the price of the petroleum product
or heating fuel product charged by the petroleum or heating fuel related
(A) the price at which the same product was sold or offered for sale by that business in the usual course of business immediately prior to the date of the declaration of the market emergency; or
(B) the price at which the same or similar petroleum product or heating fuel product is readily obtainable by the buyer and other buyers in the trade area in which the petroleum- or heating-fuel-related business markets the product; and
(2) the disparity is not substantially attributable to increased prices charged by the petroleum product or heating fuel product suppliers or increased costs due to a market emergency.
(d) A price is unconscionably high if it is grossly in excess of the price at which similar product is sold.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street