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State investigating reports of price gouging as Hurricane Lane nears

HONOLULU (KHON) - As shoppers clears the shelves at stores ahead of Hurricane Lane, some have reported seeing increasing prices at retailers as demand for goods like water have skyrocketed. 

The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs says it has received four reports from the public regarding possible price gouging.

The department is in the process of collecting more information and formal complaints for each instance.

Hawaii law prohibits businesses from raising prices during a declared disaster or emergency situation.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Ice
  • Gasoline
  • Cooking Fuel
  • Batteries and Generators
  • Chemicals
  • Construction Materials

According to the state, if the merchant incurs additional expenses because of the disaster, and can document those expenses, price increases commensurate with those expenses are permitted.

If you believe you're a victim of price gouging, the state urges you to keep your receipts and/or other records of the sale and report any instances of price gouging by emailing ocp@dcca.hawaii.gov with the following information:

  1. Name of business
  2. Location of the business (island, city, area)
  3. Item purchased (any specific information about the product)
  4. Name and contact number of the consumer

If a business is found to be price gouging, it faces a hefty fine of between $500 to $10,000 per violation.

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