More than 400 price gouging complaints filed in NC gas shortage

A bag covers a pump handle at a gas station that has no fuel to sell Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn. Fuel supplies in at least five states are threatened by a gasoline pipeline spill in Alabama, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has ordered the company responsible to take corrective action before the fuel starts flowing again. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – More than 400 consumers have filed complaints online or via a toll-free hotline to report potential gas price gouging to North Carolina’s Consumer Protection Division.

North Carolina’s law against price gouging is currently in effect due to limited supplies of gasoline caused by the leak in a pipeline that carries gas from the Gulf Coast to North Carolina and other southeastern states.

Price gouging—or charging too much in times of crisis—is against North Carolina law when a disaster, emergency, or unexpected disruption of critical goods and services is declared by the governor.

There is no set gas price that qualifies price gouging, but the Consumer Protection Division said consumers should report gas prices that look excessive, and they will look into it.

Price gougers can face fines of up to $5,000 for each violation under North Carolina law. According to the state Constitution, all fines go to support the public schools.

North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper encouraged residents to report possible price gouging online or by phone at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

Georgia residents who suspect gouging can also call 1-800-869-1123 or visit the Georgia Department of Law Consumer Protection Unit here.

“Consumers are our eyes and ears on the ground and we want to know if you spot potential gas price gouging,” Cooper said.

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