TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – On Friday afternoon, Governor Chris Christie announced that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs has issued subpoenas to 65 businesses across the state for Sandy-related price gouging.
“Having visited some of the hardest-hit areas of our state, and having seen firsthand the suffering people are experiencing, I assure New Jersey’s residents and retailers that we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to price gouging,” said Governor Christie. “Fuel, electricity, food, and a place to sleep are not luxuries, certainly not for individuals who have been displaced from their homes and in many cases have limited resources at their disposal. We are not asking businesses to function as charities. We require that they obey New Jersey’s laws – or pay significant penalties.”
Attorney General Chiesa says the Division has received more than 500 allegations of price gouging from all over New Jersey, with complaints particularly prominent in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic counties. Most complaint are related to gasoline sales, generators and batteries, food and lodging.
New Jersey’s price gouging statute makes it illegal to set excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency. The law defines excessive increases as any more than 10 percent higher than the price at which the merchandise was sold in the usual course of business prior to the state of emergency. Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws, particularly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at (800) 242-5846.