South Carolinians have filed hundreds of price-gouging complaints since mid-March
Local Solicitors throughout South Carolina are set to investigate hundreds of price gouging complaints involving sanitizing products, toilet paper and food, based on information from the South Carolina Attorney General.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said more than 650 complaints have been submitted since March 13 when Gov. Henry McMaster declared a state of emergency. The cases were assigned to local solicitors for review and possible prosecution.
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The most common products mentioned in complaints were sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, cleaning sprays, toilet paper, face masks and food - especially meat and eggs.
State law considers price gouging an "unconscionable price" charged for a product during a state of emergency compared to the product's average price in the 30 days before a state of emergency. Price differences caused by changes in supply and demand or market trends are not considered price gouging under South Carolina law.
"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," Wilson said.
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Price gouging is a misdemeanor that carries a fine up to $1,000, 30 days in jail or both.
Price gouging reports can be emailed to email@example.com, online at www.scag.gov, or over the phone at 803-737-3953.
Price gouging complaints can include:
- The time, place, address, and name of the business
- The price paid or the price being charged
- Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those businesses
- Pictures that identify the business, along with the price
- Your name and contact information
This is a developing story
Haley Walters covers public safety, crime and breaking news. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @_haleywalters