North Carolina's attorney general says his office is gearing up for possible instances of price gouging following last weekend's tornadoes.
Attorney General Roy Cooper says while most businesses are helping to rebuild their communities, his office will look into any allegations of price gouging.
Investigating price gouging involves looking at the price charged for goods or services before the disaster, emergency or disruption is declared and then comparing that to the price after the declaration. It's against North Carolina law when a disaster, an emergency or a market disruption is declared by the governor or local governments.
Under the law, the attorney general's office can seek refunds for consumers who overpaid. The courts may also impose civil penalties against price gougers of up to $5,000 for each violation.