Times are tough for many North Carolinians. Disruptions in the nation’s supply chain create shortages for many goods and services and prices are on the rise across the board. It’s a time which is ripe for the illegal act of price gouging, so it’s important to be alert for when you’re being victimized.
What is price gouging?
Price gouging is a form of fraud, which occurs when a seller charges prices which are unreasonable under the circumstances. It is prohibited by North Carolina Statute Section 75-38 and applies to everyone within the supply chain – manufacturers, suppliers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers.
Price gouging can occur with any product or service, from gas and baby formula to contractor services for home repairs. It tends to happen when market forces push prices up – a seller who is on the level will increases their prices to reflect the market changes, but no more. A price gouger, however, will use the circumstances as cover to dramatically increase their prices beyond what the market requires.
What can you do?
If you become the victim of price gouging, you can report it to the office of the North Carolina Attorney General. But it’s important to understand that, if you’ve been victimized, you’re almost certainly not alone. There are likely many other consumers who have been taken in as well and this brings up the potential for a class action lawsuit.
As the saying goes, there is strength in numbers. Nowhere is this more obvious than when a group of consumers bands together for their own, mutual protection. A class action lawsuit allows you to join with others to expose shady business practices and to hold the price gouger accountable for their actions.