New York officials reminded vendors that state laws prohibit excessive increases in costs of essential goods as Hurricane Sandy makes her way up the coast.
Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued an open letter Monday warning vendors that General Business Law makes it illegal to gouge prices of items like food, water, gas, generators, batteries and flashlights or for services like transportation during natural disasters and similar events.
“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,” he wrote. “Those who do so will ultimately see a reduction in their profits, faced with penalties, fines and directives to set up reimbursement funds.”
The letter went out to retailers and suppliers like supermarkets, gas stations, hardware stores, bodegas, delis, taxi and livery cab drivers.
“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,” Schneiderman wrote to them. “It can be a thankless responsibility, and we all owe you our gratitude.”
Residents who do experience price gouging can file online complaints here: http://www.ag.ny.gov/questions-comments-attorney-general-eric-t-schneiderman