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RALEIGH, NC (NCDOJ) — North Carolina’s strong price gouging law is now in effect because a state of emergency has been declared due to Hurricane Irene, Attorney General Roy Cooper notified businesses and consumers today.

“We’re warning price gougers that you can’t use a crisis as an excuse to make an unfair profit off of consumers,” said Cooper.

Price gouging—or charging too much in times of crisis—is against North Carolina law when a disaster, an emergency or an abnormal market disruption for critical goods and services is declared or proclaimed by the Governor. The law also applies to all levels of the supply chain from the manufacturer to the distributor to the retailer.

Cooper has enforced North Carolina’s price gouging law (NC General Statute 75-38) in the past to win thousands of dollars in refunds for consumers and penalties from violators.

“Most businesses pull together in a time of trouble to help their community,” Cooper said. “If you think that someone is trying to use Hurricane Irene to justify ripping you off, let my office know about it.

Consumers can report potential price gouging to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM toll-free within North Carolina or by filling out a complaint form at www.ncdoj.gov.

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4 Comments on "State price gouging law in effect due to Irene"

2015 years 10 months ago

I was looking up the effects of anti-price-gouging laws on Google.


Hurricane Fran hit Raleigh, North Carolina about 15 years ago. About a million people were out of ice, power, and chain saws in 92 degree weather. An hour away, four lads in an unaffected area that had stocked up rented a couple of freezer trucks and bought 1000 bags of ice at $1.70 a bag. They drove into Raleigh, chainsawing the trees blocking them and clearing the road. They set up shop in Raleigh, charging more than eight dollars a bag. Few people in the line refused at the price. About an hour later, the cops drove up, handcuffed them, and took their trucks of ice to impound, where it melted. There’s a $5000 dollar fine for price gouging in an emergency in North Carolina. The people waiting for ice at the high price, applauded the cops, apparently not realizing that there was now no ice at any price.

Meanwhile, the authorities were begging for ice from the feds and neighboring state governments. Cheap ice showed up about 5 to 7 days later. I’m sure the diabetics with rotting insulin in their refrigerators were cheered.

I hope that North Carolina has wised up by now, but I doubt it, because anti-gouging laws make people feel so superior to those evil people supplying their most urgent needs.

Gouging has two good effects, because it allocates scarce resources far better than any administrator. It attracts the goods from outside the area that can be sold at a healthy profit. That in turn lowers the price as goods come in. The contractor with two generators will think twice about buying a spendy spare that would better go to a nursing home that desperately needs it.

2015 years 10 months ago

There is no such thing as price gouging, and the state of North Carolina’s Attorney General certainly can’t define ‘price gouging’ with any specificity.
The market causes prices to rise on commodities whenever there is a disruption in supply. Keeping the price of a commodity artificially low does several things – all of them bad. 1. Encourages hoarding, and this usually by the folks with the most resources and the least need. 2. Encourages runs on scarce inventory, which means many in need go without 3. forces suppliers to lose money when replacement inventory of scarce commodities rises – this often disproportionally hits small business people, not the big stores.
This kind of well-intentioned but stupid legislation is the last thing people need in a disaster.

2015 years 10 months ago

check craigslist at the prices people are charging for old used generators !

2015 years 10 months ago

…gasoline suppliers? Oil is down to $84.00/bbl but gasoline is still at $3.60/gal. If that isn’t gouging, Obama is the best president we ever had!

As oil prices went up they were adjusting the price at the pump by the hour and at times, by the minute, but as it goes down, it isn’t happening the same way at all. Then, to add insult to injury, they brag on the news how gas prices have fallen 6 cents/gal. over the past three weeks…whooop-de-damm-doo!!!

I guess it’s Gouging is as Gouging does, who’s in control of it and just who’s pockets get the fattest first.


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