Price Gouging Statute in Full Effect for Hurricane Matthew

Attorney General Alan Wilson Announces Price Gouging Statute in Full Effect

(COLUMBIA, SC) –  October 4, 2016 South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson today announced that the price gouging statute is in effect upon notice that Governor Haley issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency.

“As we prepare for Hurricane Matthew to make landfall in South Carolina, it’s imperative that South Carolinians make necessary preparations and follow safety instructions. Our state is still recovering from the catastrophic damage caused by the floods in 2015, and as we have witnessed before, we will see many neighbors helping each other during this delicate time. However, we may also see some looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging of food, gasoline, lodging, water and any other commodities as defined by the statute. Pursuant to state law, price gouging constitutes a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice.

I urge citizens to remain vigilant and notify my office immediately if you believe you have witnessed or are aware of price gouging.  Please email any examples or documentation to pricegouging@scag.gov; tweet photos or examples tagging @SCPriceGouging; or call 803-737-3953 if you have witnessed a likely violation.”

The price gouging law (SC 39-5-145) is a general prohibition of unconscionable prices during times of disaster. It is in effect for the duration of the state of emergency. Price gougers can be charged for excessive pricing, a misdemeanor offense punishable with a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

View the price gouging statute here.

View a related 2014 Attorney General’s office opinion on price gouging. 

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