A.G Schneiderman Warns Against Price Inflation Of Necessary Goods And Services During Hurricane Sandy

NYS Law Prohibits Excessive Increases In Costs Of Essential Goods Like Food, Water, Gas, Generators, Batteries & Flashlights

Also Notifies Taxi & Livery Cab Drivers That Law Applies To Their Services As Public Transportation Shuts Down

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today issued an open letter to vendors in areas forecast to be affected by Hurricane Sandy to warn against price gouging, the inflation of the price of necessary goods and services. General Business Law prohibits such increase in costs of essential items like food, water, gas, generators, batteries and flashlights, and services like transportation, during natural disasters or other events that disrupt the market.

“While most vendors understand that customers are also neighbors, and would never think of taking advantage of others during such disruptive times, these circumstances always require an extra sense of vigilance and preparation,” Attorney General Schneiderman wrote. “As Attorney General, it is my responsibility to enforce the price gouging law, and while my hope is that I will not need to do so, my office is certainly prepared.”

New Yorkers may contact the Attorney General’s office to file complaints about potential price gouging activity online here: www.ag.ny.gov/questions-comments-attorney-general-eric-t-schneiderman

"New Yorkers have always been at their best when facing adversity, and I am confident that we will live up to that standard throughout this hurricane," Attorney General Schneiderman added.

The open letter is addressed to New York State vendors, retailers and suppliers, including but not limited to supermarkets, gas stations, hardware stores, bodegas, delis, taxi and livery cab drivers. A full copy of the letter is available below.

October 28, 2012

This open letter is addressed to anyone selling necessary consumer goods and providing essential services in the region to be affected by Hurricane Sandy.

New Yorkers have and will continue to rely upon you for the items needed to prepare for the storm, as we all stock up on water, food, batteries and other essentials. It can be a thankless responsibility, and we all owe you our gratitude.

While most understand that customers are also neighbors, and would never think of taking advantage of others during such disruptive times, these circumstances always require an extra sense of vigilance and preparation.

This notification should serve as a reminder to vendors and their consumers that state law prohibits price gouging at times when nature demonstrates its disruptive fury. The New York General Business law forbids those who sell essential consumer goods and services from charging excessive prices during what is clearly an abnormal disruption of the market. Those who do so will ultimately see a reduction in their profits, faced with penalties, fines and directives to set up reimbursement funds.

As Attorney General, it is my responsibility to enforce the price gouging law, and while it is my hope that I will not need to do so, my office is certainly prepared. We will review pricing data, and take such complaints filed with office seriously, as we do with any matter.

New Yorkers have always been at their best when facing adversity, and I am confident that we will live up to that standard throughout this hurricane.

Eric T. Schneiderman
New York State Attorney General

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