Hurricane

If you see price-gouging in Beaufort County, here is what you should do

The Shell gas station on Ribaut Road
The Shell gas station on Ribaut Road File photo

Be on the lookout for higher-than-normal prices as Hurricane Irma heads for South Carolina.

On Wednesday afternoon, Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that the state’s law against price gouging is now in effect, hours after 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 in a press release. “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.”

The price gouging law, which will be in effect for the next 15 days, prohibits businesses from raising prices to unconscionable levels during times of disaster.

Price gougers who are charged for excessive pricing face a misdemeanor offense punishable with a $1,000 fine and 30 days in jail.

If you believe you are the victim of price gouging, follow these steps:

1. Record the time, place, address, and name of the gas station

2. Record the price you paid

3. Record 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

Then email any examples or documentation to the Office of Attorney General at pricegouging@scag.gov or call 803-737-3953 and leave a message if you have witnessed a violation.

Maggie Angst: 843-706-8137, @maggieangst

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