RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Attorney General’s Office said it has received nearly 400 price gouging complaints for gas since a state of emergency was declared Monday.
North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein’s report from Wednesday shows 34 complaints from Wake County and 32 from Guilford County.
Some complaints report stores selling gas for as much as $11.66 per gallon of premium. Other complaints show stores in Onslow County raised prices from just below $3 per gallon of regular to $9.99.
The state’s price gouging law goes into effect when a state of emergency is declared, which Gov. Roy Cooper did Monday over the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline.
Cooper’s state of emergency suspends motor vehicle fuel regulations “to ensure adequate fuel supply supplies throughout the state,” according to his office.
The Colonial Pipeline, which was shut down Friday by a ransomware attack, is a primary fuel pipeline for North Carolina.
“The hackers who breached Colonial Pipeline’s systems have made it harder for hardworking North Carolinians to go about their lives, but I will not allow businesses to take advantage of this incident to charge excessive prices,” said Stein. “North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect – please let my office know if businesses or people might be trying to profit off this situation so we can hold them accountable.”
The price gouging law prevents businesses from charging unreasonable prices for goods or services to profit from a state of emergency.
“In some cases, businesses and industries that are heavily impacted by the incident causing the state of emergency have a reasonable need to increase prices in order to resupply, but they should disclose these increases and allow people to make informed purchasing decisions,” Stein’s office said in a release.
After hurricane’s Michael and Florence struck this state within two weeks of each other, Stein’s office dealt with more than 800 price gouging complaints.
Stein prosecuted a tree company for price gouging. The company is now prohibited from ever doing business in North Carolina and had to repay victims.