PICKENS COUNTY — South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that the state’s law against price gouging is now in effect following Gov. Henry McMaster’s declared state of emergency in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Irma.
According to SC §39-5-145, the price gouging law is a general prohibition of unconscionable prices during times of disaster.
Wilson stated the law is in effect until the state of emergency expires or is lifted.
Price gougers can be charged for excessive pricing, with a misdemeanor offense punishable by a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail.
“With the possibility that Hurricane Irma could make landfall in South Carolina, our people have already started making preparations,” said Wilson. “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. By our law, that’s a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice.”
In a release from the Attorney General’s Office, S.C. residents were asked to take the following steps if you feel like you are the victim of price gouging:
1. Note the time, place, address and name of the gas station.
2. Note the price you paid.
3. Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those stations.
4. Take pictures that identify the station, along with the price.
5. Provide your name and contact information.
Residents may report suspected instances of price gouging by emailing examples and documentation to firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 803-737-3953.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.