CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)– South Carolina’s price gouging law went into effect on Friday when President Trump declared a National Emergency.
The law says, “it is unlawful to rent or sell or offer to rent or sell a commodity at an unconscionable price.” The law takes into account normal market fluctuations, which are not considered price gouging.
Attorney General Alan Wilson warned of “businesses and individuals looking to unfairly take advantage of the satiation through price gouging of things like hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, [and] toilet paper.”
Former Attorney General Charlie Condon warns not all price increases are illegal.
“For example if a hand sanitizer manufacturer has a tremendous increase in the cost of the manufacturing that is then passed onto the consumer,” he said. “That wouldn’t be price gouging,” Condon added.
Anyone found guilty of price gouging will receive a fine of up to $1,000, up to 30 days in jail, or both, according to the AG’s office.
“If the prices are high and there is no explanation, I am certain this current attorney general will take action,” said Condon.
As of Wednesday, the Attorney General’s Office said they have received 98 reports of suspected price gouging.
If you believe you may have been a victim of price gouging, the AG’s Office suggests you email the following to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- The time, place, address, and name of the business.
- The price you paid
- Any prices nearby and get the same information on those businesses
- Pictures that identify the businesses, along with the price
- Your name and contact information