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2 NJ Gas Stations Settle Price Gouging Lawsuits

A pair of New Jersey gas stations will collectively pay $46,000 to resolve allegations of price gouging during the State of Emergency declared by Governor Chris Christie in response to Superstorm Sandy, under terms of court-approved Final Consent Judgments announced this morning.

Clifton-based C.S. George & Sons, Inc., which does business as George’s Gulf Station in Clifton, and Shiv Shivam, Inc., which does business as Lukoil in Piscataway, are among the 24 businesses sued late last year by State Attorney General Jeff Chiesa and the State Division of Consumer Affairs for alleged price-gouging. C.S. George & Sons allegedly raised the price of regular gasoline by 34 percent, immediately following the declared State of Emergency. Shiv Shivam allegedly raised its price for regular gasoline by 17.5 percent.

“Through Governor Christie’s leadership, we acted swiftly and decisively to investigate consumer complaints about alleged price-gouging and to file lawsuits, where warranted, in order to protect New Jersey residents from such unlawful practices,” says Chiesa. “These two settlements are the first of what I expect to be a series of resolutions to the price-gouging lawsuits that we have filed to date.”

Under the terms of the settlements, both gas stations also agreed to comply with the State’s Consumer Fraud Act going forward including by, among other things, not  advertising, offering for sale and/or selling motor fuel at excessive prices following a declared State of Emergency.

Further, any future violation of the Consumer Fraud Act might subject the stations to enhanced civil penalties. The settlements announced today include civil penalties and reimbursement of the State’s attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.

The Division of Consumer Affairs received more than 50 consumer complaints about George’s Gulf Station and it agreed to pay $26,000.  The Division received 16 consumer complaints about the Lukoil station and it agreed to pay $20,000.

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