[image-1] The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office says they have received over 650 price gouging complaints since the state’s price gouging law went into effect on March 13. In response, Attorney General Alan Wilson says his office will begin sending possible cases to local solicitors for investigation.
“We’ve been going through those complaints to find ones that could meet our state law’s definition of price gouging,” Wilson said in a press release. “We want to get moving on these as soon as possible to get the word out that we are investigating these price gouging complaints and will prosecute the businesses and individuals that violate the law.”
[content-1] Price gouging is defined in state law as a “gross disparity” between the cost charged and the average price. Violating this law is punishable by up to 30 days in jail or up to a $1,000 fine.
The most common complaints have been about high prices for sanitizing supplies, toilet paper, face masks, and some food items. Typically, price gouging laws in S.C. go into effect when a state of emergency is declared. Carolinians have seen more and more over the last few years, as several hurricanes have threatened the state’s coast. In those situations, price gouging accusations have been investigated after the emergency is over, but the prolonged situation has led the AG’s Office to begin the process early.
Several media reports from late in March noted that price gouging complaints have billowed across the nation. People that believe they have been victimized by price gouging are encouraged to report it to the state attorney general’s website.