These businesses were price-gouging masks, PPE and supplies, NJ says
State officials have named at least a dozen New Jersey businesses fined for consumer protection violations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including one Monmouth County company accused of pricing gouging a stockpile of N95 masks.
As announced Monday by state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal and the Division of Consumer Affairs, Manalapan-based Performance Supply LLC has been order to pay a $12,500 civil penalty, for allegedly offering to sell 7 million face masks at a price of $6 each even though they retailed for roughly $1 each.
The company, located at 3 Westbrook Way, has been accused of making false and misleading statements in advertising the N95 mask respirators for sale to personnel from the New York City Office of Citywide Procurement.
Performance Supply already faced a federal lawsuit filed by mask manufacturer 3M, stemming from the same allegations. As reported by Reuters, 3M won an injunction from a federal judge in May against Performance Supply, for the roughly 500% price markup of its personal protective equipment.
Other businesses ordered to pay fines for accusations of price gouging on essential items such as bottled water, rice, face masks and disinfectant spray include:
- Bravo Supermarket, Inc., 1567 E. State Street, Trenton, $5,750 civil penalty
- Food Fair La Gran Marqueta, 946-956 Market Street, Paterson, $5,250 civil penalty
- Siya Cash and Carry LLC,175 Tonnelle Avenue, Jersey City, $1,750 civil penalty
- Super Fresh Pine Tree Supermarket,19 Belleville Avenue, Bloomfield,$1,250 civil penalty
- Compare Foods Super Market, 847 Roebling Avenue, Trenton, $1,250 civil penalty
In North Jersey, two other businesses have been cited for making false or unsubstantiated claims in the sale of COVID-19 antibody tests, Grewal said.
Hudson Drug of Cresskill has been ordered to pay a $3,000 in civil penalty for advertising that antibody tests it sold were suitable for at-home use, which contradicted the manufacturer’s instructions.
Retro Fitness of Rockaway has been ordered to pay a $2,000 civil penalty for making unsubstantiated claims related to antibody testing made available to club members, Grewal said.
Notices of Violation also were issued to at least four other businesses, each ordered to pay $500 in civil penalties for failure to post selling prices for such essentials as bottled water, toilet paper and sanitizers:
- Exxon Gas, 2000 Route 66 East, Neptune
- News Plus, 138 Baldwin Road, Parsippany
- Shell, 456 Albin Court, Ridgewood
- Delta Food Mart, 801 West Elizabeth Avenue, Linden
New Jersey’s price-gouging law took effect on March 9 upon Gov. Phil Murphy’s declaration of a state of emergency. It bans excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency and for 30 days after it is over.
Price-gouging and other consumer fraud violations are punishable by civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first violation and $20,000 for the second and subsequent violations.
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