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Cracking down on Sandy cheats [AUDIO]

The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs continues to aggressively go after companies that allegedly were involved in price-gouging after Superstorm Sandy, more than 20 months ago.

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Sandy construction
        Kena Betancur, Getty Images

The latest company to settle with the state, for $110,000 – after being sued for price gouging – is Comfort Suites Mahwah, a Bergen County hotel that allegedly engaged in 473 instances of charging hotel guests more than they should have after Sandy struck .

“So far to date we’ve resolved 22 of 27 suits that allege price gouging during the Superstorm Sandy state of emergency, and we’ve obtained a total of $1,016,158.68 and that accounts for civil penalties, consumer restitution and reimbursement of fees and investigative costs,” said the acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs, Steve Lee.

He pointed out the division has been relentlessly pursuing cases involving price-gouging because “this is the worst type of conduct, essentially what you have are companies that are taking advantage of the misfortune of the suffering. hey were victims of one of the worst natural disasters that New Jersey has ever faced.”

The bottom line, said Lee, is “we’re trying to be aggressive in making sure that New Jersey consumers who are taken advantage of are protected and restored as much as possible. What we want is that companies do the right thing and remember that above making profits they need to be good citizens.”

He said even though Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey more than 20 months ago, the division is still going after companies believed to have engaged in price-gouging, and they’re filing new suits when necessary.

“The message is we’re going to continue our work for however long it takes to make things right for New Jersey consumers,” Lee said.

Consumers who think they may have been cheated or scammed by a business can file a complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting their website,  or by calling 1-800-242-5846.

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