For Immediate Release:
Thursday, August 19, 2021
Nazneen Ahmed (919) 716-0060
(RALEIGH) North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect with Gov. Roy Cooper’s Wednesday declaration of a statewide state of emergency in response to the heavy rains and flooding that have impacted areas of western North Carolina over the past week.
“Our hearts go out to the people in western North Carolina suffering the effects of flooding,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “We do not want people’s heartache to be compounded by being victimized by fraudsters. North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect so businesses cannot take advantage of North Carolinians who are attempting to recover and rebuild. If you see it happening in your community, let my office know so we can hold them accountable.”
North Carolina’s law against price gouging, or charging too much in times of a crisis, goes into effect when the governor declares a state of emergency. Please report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/price-gouging/. Our office reviews price gouging complaints closely and Attorney General Stein is prepared to take action against any person or business engaging in price gouging.
Watch out for price gouging from water damage repair and restoration companies, tree removal services, and home repair contractors. Here are some tips to consider when hiring a business or person to do repairs on your property:
- Contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies require an adjuster’s approval before work can be done.
- Don’t pay upfront. A reasonable down payment may be required for some projects, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Inspect the work closely to make sure you are satisfied before you pay, and use a check or a credit card to pay.
- Choose local companies when possible. Tree services that knock on your door or that just arrived in town from another state may not stick around to finish the job. You should also get recommendations from friends, neighbors, and colleagues.
- Check out the company. Ask for references, search for online reviews, and contact our Consumer Protection Division and the Better Business Bureau to see if they have complaints against the company.
- Make sure the company is insured – ask to see their certificate of insurance.
- Get and compare written estimates from at least three companies before you select one.
- Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you or who comes to your home offering assistance. If an offer is only good “now or never,” find someone else to do the work.
Since 2018, Attorney General Stein has brought ten lawsuits against 26 defendants under North Carolina’s price gouging statute. He has obtained nine judgments against 18 defendants, including a $274,000 settlement that was the largest price gouging settlement in the department’s history. DOJ has won more than $975,000 in these judgments and settlements.