As Florence heads to coast, complaints of price gouging arise

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With any major storm comes its share of scams and reports of price gouging.

Complaints have already started as Hurricane Florence approaches the East Coast.

Price gouging, which is illegal, is defined as raising prices to an unfair level, especially during an emergency.

State officials say a warning comes with a huge fine, up to $15,000 for every violation. The big concern is usually at gas pumps when prices go up, two or three times the normal amount.

State officials told 11Alive that this week there are at least six complaints: three in the coastal area, a complaint in central Georgia, one in west Georgia, and one from Columbia County, which is on the border of South Carolina.

VERIFY: Yes, price gouging is illegal but still happens. Here’s how to report it

Now that Governor Nathan Deal enacted a state of emergency for all 159 counties in Georgia, his office says con artists often exploit disasters. Under Georgia law, penalties for scams and price gouging can range between $2,000 to $15,000 per violation.

Hurricane Florence | What does a state of emergency mean?

During hurricane Irma, the state says they received 230 complaints of price gouging or overcharging.

They said they rely on consumers to provide good facts, pictures, receipts, and other evidence to support the complains.

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