September 1, 2005
With gas prices at record levels after the emergency, many people are talking about price gouging. So what exactly is it? 12 On Your Side explains what the state law has to say about it.
President Bush, Governor Perdue and Governor Sanford have all warned gas station owners not to do it, but how do you actually define price gouging?
Georgia law says price gouging is selling goods or services at an unreasonable or egregious price. That means a retailer can only mark-up a product at the same rate as before the price gouging statute was enacted.
Governor Perdue did enact the law yesterday, and he warned that anyone caught price gouging would be punished to the fullest extent possible.
“They didn’t pay that for what they are charging for it and that is price gouging and I want it stopped,” Governor Perdue said.
In South Carolina it is illegal to rent or sell a commodity at an unconscionable price withing the area where a state of emergency is declared. But even without a state of emergency today South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster announced he would prosecute any criminal activity surrounding the current gas shortage. He has set up a special email address to report price-gouging, email@example.com.
To report price gouging in Georgia, call the Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-869-1123.