The state of South Carolina is reminding residents and businesses that when cities are flooded and times are desperate, it is illegal to price-gouge to take advantage of the situation. The rule against price gouging isn't always in play, but it was implemented on Friday when Gov. Nikki Haley issued a state of emergency in the coastal state due to historic rains and flooding. Price gouging will be illegal there for 15 days.
To ensure that the law is respected and that residents would have the ability to quickly report gouging, a Twitter handle has been set up where users can post photographic evidence of the predatory practices. If retailers have "unconscionable prices during times of disaster," wrote the office of South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson Monday, then the perpetrator could face misdemeanor charges and a $1,000 fine and/or 30 days in jail, according to the Charleston Post and Courier.
Please tweet us your pictures or documentation of any price gouging in South Carolina.
— SC Price Gouging (@SCPriceGouging) October 5, 2015
The rains that hit South Carolina and caused widespread and historic flooding appeared to be subsiding Monday, but public officials warned that conditions were still dangerous. Haley said during a press conference that it was important for drivers in the area to know that roadways may not be as reliable as they appear on the outside. Flood waters may have undermined the integrity of the roads and they might not be safe to drive on.
"We can't let our guard down. Conditions are still dangerous out there," Leroy Smith, the South Carolina Department of Public Safety director, said Monday.
The rains set records in the state, and the event has been called a 1,000-year rain event. There have been at least nine deaths related to the floods, which started days ago. University classes on several campuses around the state were canceled Monday. In Columbia, city officials were releasing boil warnings, telling water customers to boil water before consuming it even from the tap.