The price gouging complaints filed with the North Carolina Attorney General's Office continue to grow. Since our state is under a state of emergency, the price gouging law is in effect. So far, more than 1,200 complaints have been filed.
Of the 1,202 complaints filed with the state, 54 percent of the complaints involve grocery items. The items prompting the most complaints involve paying too much for certain food items like meats and eggs and overpriced toilet paper.
Several of the complaints report listings for sale on Facebook marketplace. One consumer reported that someone was selling one roll of toilet paper for $100.
Consumers also filed reports claiming they were charged too much for hand sanitizer, cleaning products and face masks.
Total Complaints by Category
Cleaning Products: 113
Health Product: 137
Out of all of the price gouging complaints, AG Stein is investigating nine North Carolina-based sellers on Amazon. Those sellers are accused of raising prices on coronavirus-related products by more than 40 percent, including hand sanitizer and N-95 masks. Amazon says one group made more than $100,000 in sales as a result of those higher prices.
"At a time when North Carolinians are trying to take care of themselves and their families in the face of an unprecedented crisis, some sellers are instead focused on unfairly taking people's money," Stein said. "My office will investigate these cases and take action if we believe they've violated the price gouging law. Any other would-be gougers should take note: if you take advantage of consumers during this crisis, we will come after you and hold you accountable."
If AG Stein's office finds the price gouging complaints are validated, it's a penalty of up to $5,000 per violation.
If you want to report potential price gouging, you can call 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov/file-a-complaint/price-gouging/