Price-gouging law in effect during storm

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From release
COLUMBIA – State Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Sept. 6 that South Carolina’s law that prevents price-gouging is  in effect, since Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency.
“With the possibility that Hurricane Irma could make landfall in South Carolina, our people have already started making preparations,” Wilson said. “We can expect normal price increases, but we may see businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation.”
The state prohibits the 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,” Wilson said.
According to the state statute, price gouging is a “general prohibition of unconscionable prices during times of disaster.”
The law is in effect for the next 15 days, or through Sept. 20.
Wilson said price gougers can be charged for excessive pricing, which is a misdemeanor with a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail.
Wilson urged victims who want to report price-gouging to take the following steps:
• Note the time, place, address and name of the gas station or other business.
• Note the price you paid.
• Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those businesses.
• Take pictures that identify the business, along with the price.
• Provide your name and contact information.
 Examples or documentation should be emailed to pricegouging@scag.gov.
You can also call (803) 737-3953 and leave a message to report suspected violations.