North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
North Carolina Department of Justice
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NC price gouging law now in effect, says AG Cooper

Release date: 9/1/2010

Watch out for price gouging with Hurricane Earl

Raleigh: North Carolina’s strong price gouging law is now in effect because a state of emergency has been declared due to Hurricane Earl, Attorney General Roy Cooper notified North Carolina businesses and consumers today.
 
“We’re warning price gougers that you can’t use a storm 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. Under the law, the Attorney General’s Office can put a stop to price gouging and seek refunds for consumers who paid too much. The courts may also impose civil penalties against price gougers of up to $5,000 for each violation. 
 
Investigating price gouging involves looking at the price charged for a good or service before the disaster, emergency or disruption is declared and then comparing that to the price after the declaration.
 
“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 Earl 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 the price gouging complaint form at www.ncdoj.gov.



Contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6484