RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein announced on Friday that he is suing a Durham convenience store for violating the state’s price gouging law during May’s gas shortage.
According to a release from Stein’s office, he is suing Jack’s In & Out Food Mart for violating the state’s price gouging law and the Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act during the state of emergency caused by the Colonial Pipeline shut down after the company was hacked.
“Our price gouging law exists exactly for these situations,” said Stein. “Businesses cannot take advantage of an emergency to maximize their own profits at the expense of North Carolinians in need. I will do everything in my power to hold price gougers accountable.”
In the lawsuit, Stein claims that the store increased the price of gas from $3.29 per gallon for premium fuel on May 9 to $5.49 per gallon on May 11.
A state of emergency was declared by Gov. Roy Cooper on May 10, one day before the store raised the price by more than $2 per gallon.
Jack’s In & Out raised their price of gas by 60 percent “even though there was no correlating increase in how much the company was paying for fuel,” Stein said.
He also accuses the store of false advertising, saying that the “defendant advertised regular gas for $2.909 a gallon, when in fact they were not selling regular gasoline at all, but only premium at an unreasonably excessive price.”
The state’s price gouging law goes into effect any time the governor declares a state of emergency.
Stein’s lawsuit “seeks permanent injunctive relief, civil penalties, consumer restitution, disgorgement, attorneys’ fees, and other relief.”