South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson implemented the state’s law against price gouging Wednesday, following the governor’s state of emergency declaration ahead of Hurricane Irma.
“With the possibility that Hurricane Irma could make landfall in South Carolina, our people have already started making preparations,” Wilson said in a statement. “We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging, and other commodities, as defined by the statute.”
The price gouging law is a general prohibition of unconscionable prices during times of disaster. It is in effect for the next 15 days. Price gougers charged for excessive pricing, a misdemeanor offense that is punishable, could face a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail.
If you feel that you are the victim of price gouging, there are certain steps that you can take to help our office investigate. Please do the following:
1. Note the time, place, address, and name of the gas station or business
2. Note the price you paid
3. Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those stations or businesses
4. Take pictures that identify the business, along with the price
5. Provide your name and contact information
The S.C. Attorney General’s Office will need that information in order to conduct a thorough investigation. Consumers can email any examples or documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 803-737-3953 and leave a message, if you have witnessed a likely violation.
Reporting can also be done online at http://www.scag.gov/archives/33193.