Over 400 complaints of price gouging at the pump reported

DURHAM (WTVD) -- Are you paying too much for gas? The North Carolina price gouging law is in effect due to the Colonial Pipeline leak. That means if you spot gas prices that seem unreasonably high, report it.

Seeing high gas prices? Long lines? Share a photo using #abc11 or submit one here.

An ABC11 viewer shared these pictures from an Apex gas station along Center Street.

So far the N.C. Attorney General's Office has received more than 400 complaints reporting potential price gouging. Under N.C. law, price gouging is when the price charged is unreasonably excessive under the circumstances. There is no set price or percentage increase defined in the law, so it can apply to different products and services in times of crisis.


"A crisis is the wrong time to try to make a fast buck off of consumers," Attorney General Roy Cooper said. "Families and businesses across our state are being squeezed by this sudden gas crunch and they deserve fair prices."

One of the complaints filed is from King, N.C.

From the sign at the Sheetz, it appears gas is $9.99 a gallon. The NC Attorney General's Office did look into this complaint and a rep says the station reported that it had posted that price when it ran out of gas but had not actually sold any gas at that price.

Other complaints filed involved gas being sold at $5.89 a gallon and another at over $4.00 a gallon. So far the rep says they have not been able to confirm those reports yet and Consumer Protection investigators are looking into them now.

"My office will take swift legal action if our investigation shows that any retailer, distributor or wholesaler has broken the law by price gouging," Cooper said.

The best bet is to shop around. We drove along Roxboro Road in Durham and noticed a 78 cent difference between the two gas stations that were across the street from one another. One has it for $2.85 a gallon for regular and just across the street $2.07.

It's a hefty fine if a business is caught price gauging. They could be fined up for $5,000 for each violation.

This is not the first time the NC Attorney General has looked into price gouging complaints. In 2008, 14 gas station were fined during a gas crisis when the Gulf Coast refineries shut down.

Read more about the gas shortage situation here.
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