• Residents complain about businesses 'price gouging' as Florence approaches


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - People are accusing businesses of price gouging and taking advantage of Hurricane Florence’s impact along the East Coast.

    Residents in the Carolinas are in desperate need of gas, hotels and water as they brace for the massive storm.

    Watch the video above to learn more about what  state officials are doing about "price gouging"


    [FLORENCE ARRIVES: Watch these must-see livestreams of the Carolina coast]

    [MINUTE-BY-MINUTE: Florence could bring 'possibly catastrophic' flooding inland]

    [TALES FROM THE COAST: Meteorologist John Ahrens’ crew covering Florence]

    North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein told Action 9 reporter Jason Stoogenke that there have been roughly 250 complaints, and a handful of those are from the Charlotte area.

    Stein said about half of the complaints involve gas prices, but most of the rest are over bottled water and some hotels as evacuees flee the coast.

    Stein's office has taken legal action against gougers in the past, even months after the storms have passed.

    The law says businesses can't charge an "unreasonably excessive" amount during times of crisis, which is subject to interpretation.

    "If they bought a whole bunch of inventory of bottled water at a certain price, they can't just willy-nilly raise the price to take advantage of people's desperation, but if the retailer brings in a new shipment and has to pay a premium in order to get that water delivered to meet the needs of the people and they can demonstrate that their costs are higher, then, yes, they can charge a higher price,” Stein said.

    Even though the storm should come and go this weekend, the price gouging law stays in effect for 45 days, or longer, if Gov. Roy Cooper extends it.

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