South Carolina AG says price gouging statute in place due to pipeline disruption

South Carolina News

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced a price gouging statute is in place because of the Colonial Pipeline disruption.

Wilson said he declared an ‘abnormal disruption’ in the market because of a cyberattack on the pipeline. “Therefore, the state’s price gouging statute is in effect,” he said.

“I’m urging everyone to be careful and be patient,” said AG Wilson. “We hope this gas shortage will last just a few days, but we must be wary of individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the situation through price gouging. According to state law, price gouging constitutes a criminal violation and an unfair trade practice.”

South Carolinians are encouraged to remain vigilant and notify the Attorney General’s office immediately if you believe you have witnessed or are aware of price gouging.

Email any examples or documentation to pricegouging@scag.gov; visit www.scag.gov to fill out a form to report price gouging or call 803-737-3953 if you have witnessed a likely violation.

According to Wilson’s office, the price gouging law (SC 39-5-145) is a general prohibition of unconscionable prices during times of disaster.

Price gougers can be charged for excessive pricing, a misdemeanor offense punishable with a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail.

Governor Henry McMaster said South Carolinians do need to “rush to top off your gas tanks or hoard gas.” He said the pipeline is expected to resume operations by the end of the week.

Gov. McMaster said his office has been in constant contact with the Office of Regulatory Staff regarding the temporary shutdown. “We stand ready to take any additional action that may be necessary,” Gov. McMaster said in a tweet on Tuesday.

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