Attorney general says 600 price gouging complaints have been made after hurricane

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Attorney General Josh Stein (Source: WECT)

North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein said Friday his office has received more than 600 complaints of price gouging since Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina.

Stein spoke with WECT’s Jon Evans about price gouging in the wake of the storm and said while most of the incidents are concentrated in Southeastern NC counties, complaints have come in from all over the state. 

“The vast majority of them have dealt with gasoline and water, but the ones that have been of the most concern have involved hotel bills,” Stein said. “We got a shocking one today about tree removal in Wilmington where somebody charged $12,000 to remove a tree, and so we put that on the top of the pile of ones we have to look into.”

A price gouging law meant to protect consumers from scammers went into effect on Sept. 10 after Gov. Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency while Florence moved toward our coast.

That didn’t keep people from attempting price gouging and with floodwaters still rising in some communities in our area, there will likely be more incidents in the coming days. 

Stein advised people to be on the lookout for scams and to deal with local companies and workers, if possible, to take care of storm-related issues.

“if you have work that needs to be done and it’s not an emergency, try to get a couple of different quotes from people from Wilmington because then they have a stake in the community and they’re worried about their reputation,” Stein said. “You want to make sure you’re dealing with a legitimate business and get a couple of quotes.”

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