NC Attorney General says price gougers will be investigated
By Kassie Simmons | May 12, 2021 at 5:14 PM EDT – Updated May 12 at 10:07 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) – From hoarding to price gouging, many have complained of higher gas prices or stations forcing customers to make other purchases.
The issue of price gouging is serious enough for the governor to remind business owners that greatly raising prices is illegal during a state of emergency.
Drivers say they saw prices jump to over three dollars a gallon as people rushed to the pumps for gas. That led to many questions about what’s fair and what’s not when it comes to price changes and increasing demand.
“Now if their costs have increased because they are paying more to get the supply, they can pass that on to the consumer,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “What we ask consumers to do is if you see a gas station that has really bumped up its price, let my office know and we will investigate to determine whether that price increase was legitimate or price gouging.”
On the other hand, gas stations cannot bump up the prices just because there’s a spike in demand. Stein says they will look into complaints sent to his office and any violators will face consequences.
“[If] our investigation concludes that the gas station is trying to make a quick buck off of people’s desperation — their cost hasn’t increased — they just want to make money while the gettin’ is good, we will sue them for price gouging,” said Stein. “We have brought a number of actions in recent years against sellers who have violated our state’s price gouging law and I will not hesitate to do it again.”
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