Retailers in Fayetteville and Rocky Mount have been subpoenaed for costly products

High gas prices price gouging
Image: NCCC
October 12, 2016

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper has announced that his office is investigating two retailers over allegations of price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.

A Fayetteville store claimed to have charged $29 for a case of 24 bottles of water and a Rocky Mount gas station alleged to have charged $4.47 per gallon for gas have both been subpoenaed by the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

"North Carolina families and communities still reeling from Matthew don't deserve to get gouged," Cooper said. "If you see people using this disaster to make an unfair profit, let my office know."

In addition, the North Carolina Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division issued a subpoena to a Gastonia motel on Friday over claims that it had charged people fleeing the hurricane up to $300 per night for a room.

North Carolina's law against price gouging is currently in effect. To date, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office has received roughly 95 complaints regarding price gouging that may be linked to Hurricane Matthew and its aftermath.

"Most people and businesses pitch in to help after a disaster, but some try to take unfair advantage," Cooper said. "My office will act swiftly if we find any retailer, distributor or wholesaler has used Hurricane Matthew as an excuse to gouge their customers."

Under North Carolina law, those convicted of price gouging may be fined up to $5,000 for each violation. According to the state constitution, all such fines are put toward the support of the state's public schools, though the North Carolina Attorney General's Office also tries to obtain refunds for affected consumers whenever possible.

Consumers can report instances of price gouging to the Consumer Protection Division of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office by mail, online, or by calling (877) 566-7226.