Attorney General Josh Stein announced late last week that he has filed a lawsuit against Charlotte-based A1 Towing Solutions, Inc. and its owner David Jewel Satterfield for allegedly violating North Carolina’s price gouging statute and engaging in deceptive trade practices and unfair debt collection practices during the COVID-19 state of emergency in North Carolina, according to a news release.
“Any would-be price gouger should take note — my office will hold you accountable for harming people in this time of crisis,” Attorney General Josh Stein stated in a news release.
Stein’s lawsuit alleges that the defendants improperly booted or towed trucks that were delivering food, water, bleach, or needed medical supplies during this pandemic and in spite of the trucks’ drivers having the necessary permission of property owners to park their trucks on the property, the release states.
“After towing or booting the trucks, the defendants allegedly forced drivers to pay exorbitant amounts — up to $4,400.00 — for their release. The defendants also allegedly engaged in other illegal practices, including but not limited to double-booting a tractor and its attached trailer to double the price for removing the boots, charging inflated fees for use of a credit card and bogus fees for filings with the DMV, and threatening to increase fees for the release of the trucks unless the drivers paid immediately,” the release states.
Stein is seeking temporary, preliminary, and permanent injunctive relief against the defendants, as well as restitution for victims, civil penalties, and other relief.
North Carolina’s price gouging law went into effect on March 10 when Gov. Cooper declared a state of emergency in North Carolina in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Stein and the North Carolina Department of Justice will be reviewing price gouging complaints from consumers closely and are prepared to take action against any businesses engaging in price gouging activities.
To date, consumers have filed 1,763 complaints with the office. If concerned about a seller charging an unreasonably excessive price, report potential price gouging by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint at https://ncdoj.gov.
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