NJ Settles More Sandy Price Gouging Cases
Four New Jersey hotels, three gas stations and one hardware store have agreed to pay a total of almost $300,000 for alleged price gouging right after Superstorm Sandy.
The settlements were announced this morning by the Office of the Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs.
“The immediate aftermath of Superstorm Sandy left many New Jerseyans in a state of chaos and turmoil, which was only made worse when companies illegally gouged them for essential items such as shelter and fuel,” says acting State Attorney General John Hoffman. “We are here to protect the most vulnerable. We simply will not allow businesses to victimize vulnerable residents, who already are suffering hardships during a declared state of emergency.”
The settlements mark the first agreements involving hotel operators who were sued for alleged price gouging during the State of Emergency declared by Governor Chris Christie in late October of last year.
- Barclay Hospitality Services, Inc., doing business as (d/b/a) Homewood Suites by Hilton, 3819 Route 1, Princeton will reimburse 63 consumers a total of $3,532.74. Barclay has already made a settlement payment of $92,000.
- ESA P Portfolio d/b/a Extended Stay America Princeton, 3450 Brunswick Pike, Princeton will reimburse 53 consumers a total of $2,006.20 and will make a settlement payment of $61,879.77.
- Infant King Management, LLC, d/b/a Howard Johnson Inn, 8029 Black Horse Pike, Pleasantville will reimburse 59 consumers a total of $1,183.17 and will make a settlement payment of $28,816.83. A suspended civil penalty of $5,000 will be automatically vacated after one year if there are no violations of the settlement terms.
- A Classic Corp. d/b/a A-1 Motel, 616 West White Horse Pike, Cologne will reimburse 10 consumers a total of $282.94.
Gas Station Settlements
- S&D, LLC, d/b/a Exxon, 555 Riverside Avenue, Lyndhurst will make a settlement payment of $25,000.
- Cuoto & Sons, Inc., d/b/a Sunoco, 89 Wilson Avenue, Newark has paid $23,426.01.
- AT Petroleum, LLC, d/b/a Lukoil, 253 McBride Avenue, Paterson will make a settlement payment of $15,000.
“Additional price gouging settlements are expected as a result of the investigations conducted by our Office of Consumer Protection staff in the days and weeks following Superstorm Sandy,” says Eric Kanefsky, Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs. “There is no excuse or justification for gouging consumers during a declared State of Emergency.”
Hardware Store Settelment
Berwick International, Inc., d/b/a Village Hardware, 223 Main Street, Hardwick will make a settlement payment of $20,000. This case is a result of the sale of five-gallon gas cans at allegedly excessive prices.