RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As Hurricane Idalia bears down on Florida and is expected to bring North Carolina high winds, torrential rain and flooding, the state’s price gouging law was put into effect Tuesday.
The hurricane is expected to be a tropical storm as it hits the North Carolina coast this week.
The price gouging law was initiated for the entire state after Gov. Roy Cooper declared a statewide state of emergency Tuesday in anticipation of Hurricane Idalia.
The main aim of the law is to stop businesses from unreasonably hiking the price of goods or services to profit from a state of emergency.
When Idalia hits North Carolina, up to five inches are rain are expected along with wind gusts nearing 55 mph.
Officials said that in some cases, businesses need to raise prices during a crisis.
“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 so people can make informed purchasing decisions,” according to a news release from North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
Stein said residents can report price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov/pricegouging.
Since 2018, Attorney General Stein has brought 12 lawsuits against 29 defendants under North Carolina’s price gouging statute. He has obtained 14 judgments or settlements totaling $1,080,000 against 25 defendants, including a $274,000 settlement.