For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
Laura Brewer (919) 716-6484
(RALEIGH) North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect after Gov. Roy Cooper yesterday declared a statewide state of emergency in response to the temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline. The pipeline was shut down after a ransomware cyberattack.
“The hackers who breached Colonial Pipeline’s systems have made it harder for hardworking North Carolinians to go about their lives, but I will not allow businesses to take advantage of this incident to charge excessive prices,” said Attorney General Josh Stein. “North Carolina’s price gouging law is in effect – please let my office know if businesses or people might be trying to profit off this situation 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. In some cases, businesses and industries that are heavily impacted by the incident causing the state of emergency have a reasonable need to increase prices in order to resupply, but they should disclose these increases and allow people to make informed purchasing decisions. Businesses cannot, however, unreasonably raise the price of goods or services to profit from 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.
Since 2018, Attorney General Stein has brought nine lawsuits against 25 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.