South Carolina’s price gouging law now in effect

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – South Carolina’s price gouging law is now in effect following President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency Friday and Gov. Henry McMaster’s declaration of a state of emergency.

The state law says that it is unlawful to “rent or sell or offer to rent or sell a commodity at an unconscionable price.” The law remains in effect until the declaration expires or is terminated.

Normal changes in the prices of goods and services are not considered price gouging. The law says, “A price increase that reflects the usual and customary seasonal fluctuation in the price of the subject essential commodity or the rental or lease of a dwelling unit or self-storage facility is not a violation of this section.”

Normal fluctuations in the market based on supply and demand are also not price gouging.

If you feel like you are the victim of price gouging there are certain steps that you can take to help the Attorney General’s office investigate.

You’re asked to do the following:

– Note the time, place, address, and name of the business
– Note the price you paid
– Note any prices nearby and get the same information on those businesses
– Take pictures that identify the business, along with the price
– Provide your name and contact information

Anyone found to have violated the state’s price gouging law is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be punished by a fine of up to $1,000, up to 30 days in jail, or both.

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