South Carolina

More than 100 price-gouging complaints in SC after Florence. Here’s what they’re about

Conway Riverwalk at historical flood crest

The Waccamaw River at Conway crested today at just over 21 feet setting a historic flood level that affected hundreds of homes in the Conway area. Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.
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The Waccamaw River at Conway crested today at just over 21 feet setting a historic flood level that affected hundreds of homes in the Conway area. Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018.

The most common complaints for price gouging in South Carolina in the weeks since Hurricane Florence involve gas prices and the cost of water and ice.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office has received 134 complaints of price gouging since Hurricane Florence made landfall last month, according to spokesman Robert Kittle.

The office received 39 complaints over gas prices, with the price of water and ice accounting for 37 complaints, and another 33 from lodging, according to the AG’s Office.

Kittle said many of the complaints “have already been dismissed because they did not meet the standard for price gouging.” One complaint was over the $2.55 price for a gallon of gas, which was close to typical prices at the time, so it’s not considered gouging, he explained.

He added: “Others fall into the other categories of not meeting the legal definition, such as a gas station being out of regular gas so someone had to buy premium at the premium price that’s always higher than regular.”

There have been no charges related to price gouging, Kittle said, but some price-gouging cases are under investigation.

State Attorney General Alan Wilson put South Carolina’s price-gouging law in effect Sept. 8 as Florence was about to make landfall in the state. The state can put the law in effect when faced with an emergency or natural disaster.

Those found guilty of price gouging can receive a $1,000 fine or 30 days in jail.

Charles Duncan: 843-626-0301, @duncanreporting

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