Company Accused of Price Gouging Following Derecho
A natural disaster like the August derecho brings out the best in people. Neighbors helping neighbors. People donating food, blood, and their own hard earned money. We step up and do whatever we can do to help. Unfortunately, disasters also bring out another group of people. Price gougers. They're only after one thing. Making as big a profit as possible.
KCRG reports that the Iowa Attorney General's office has received over 50 complaints about one specific company that is price gouging. That accounts for 40% of all derecho related complaints called in. That company is WireOne Electric. KCRG reports that their investigation concluded that WireOne charged higher than average rates for their services, and are charging high prices 'emergency fees'.
One such victim is Crystal Hird of Cedar Rapids. She told KCRG that in August, she reached out to the company because she needed an electrician because her meter had come off of her house. Hird said that the local area code on the phone number made her feel comfortable with her choice. But she was given a quote of $3500 for the repairs and then threatened with a $300 emergency fee. If she didn't pay, she might not see an electrician for months. Hird told KCRG that she ended up finding another company in Iowa City that did the work for around $500.
A spokesperson for the Iowa Attorney General's Office told KCRG that the complaint numbers against WireOne Electric are high, but didn't know what to compare it too since the derecho was such an unusual event. The investigation into the company is ongoing.