North Carolinians should look out for possible price gouging as they prepare for potential impacts from Hurricane Matthew, Attorney General Roy Cooper warned.
North Carolina law against price gouging was triggered today by the declaration of a state of emergency for central and eastern parts of the state due to Hurricane Matthew. Some weather forecast models show Hurricane Matthew affecting North Carolina later this week.
“The threat of severe weather shouldn’t be an excuse to rip off North Carolinians,” Cooper warned. “If you spot someone trying to make an unfair profit off of Hurricane Matthew, let my office know about it.”
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.
Cooper has enforced North Carolina’s price gouging law in the past to win thousands of dollars in refunds for consumers and penalties from violators. His office is currently investigating nine gas stations and one gas wholesaler for alleged gas price gouging reported by consumers last month. That investigation is ongoing, and the price gouging law remains in effect for gasoline for the entire state until October 16, 2016.
Under the state of emergency declared today, the price gouging law is in effect in 66 counties in central and eastern North Carolina. For tips on how to prepare for the threat of a hurricane, visit ready.gov/hurricanes. To avoid scams that may follow severe weather, see our tips on disaster repair and tree removal at ncdoj.gov/disasters.