Price gouging law in effect for NC due to gas shortage
RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) – Attorney General Roy Cooper is urging people to report gas prices that seem unreasonably high.
North Carolina’s law against price gouging is currently in effect due to limited supplied of gasoline caused by a leak in a pipeline that carries gas from the Gulf Coast .
As of 11 a.m. Monday, more than 400 consumers had filed complaints online or via a toll-free hotline to report potential gas price gouging to Cooper’s Consumer Protection Division.
“Consumers are our eyes and ears on the ground and we want to know if you spot potential gas price gouging,” Cooper said in a news release.
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 applies to all levels of the supply chain from the manufacturer to the distributor to the retailer.
The price gouging law is currently in effect due to a market disruption for gasoline declared late Friday.
North Carolina law (Chapter 75-38) defines price gouging as charging “a price that is unreasonably excessive under the circumstances.” There is no set price or percentage increase defined in the law so the law can apply to different products and services in times of crisis. In this case, the law is in effect specifically to prevent gas price gouging. If a gas price looks excessive, report it and the Attorney General’s office will look into it.
You can report price gouging three ways:
Attorney General’s Office
Mail Service Center 9001
Raleigh, NC 27699-9001
- Call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or 919-716-6000.
The Attorney General’s office say it’s helpful if you can provide receipts if you purchased gas, or photos of gas station price signs you spot. The Consumer Protection Division follows up on complaints of potential price gouging to determine if the law has been violated. The AG’s office will use information provided by consumers, including first-hand reports, receipts, and photos of gas station price signs. They will then contact gas stations about reports we get and also look at the costs gas stations are charged by their suppliers.
Price gougers can face fines of up to $5,000 for each violation under North Carolina law. All fines go to support the public schools.