YOU READ IT HERE FIRST:
A Lyndhurst service station that hiked gas prices more than 70 cents a gallon is among eight businesses that have agreed to reimburse consumers who were ripped off by price gouging during Hurricane Sandy.
S&D LLC,d/b/a Exxon station, at 555 Riverside Avenue in Lyndhurst, will make a settlement payment of $25,000, which represents $22,980.37 in civil penalties, $1,627.50 in attorneys’ fees and $392.13 in investigative costs, the state Attorney General’s Office and state Division of Consumer Affairs announced this morning.
S&D was accused of raising the price of regular fuel from $3.42 to $4.13 per gallon, a 21% hike, during the state of emergency. It also allegedly raised the price of supreme-grade gasoline by 14%. The DCA said it got 13 consumer complaints about the company.
- YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Lyndhurst service station that hiked gas prices more than 70 cents a gallon, one in Clifton that jacked it by $1.20, and a Route 46 hotel that produced 2,000 consumer complaints are among eight businesses sued by the state of New Jersey on charges of price gouging during the Hurricane Sandy emergency. READ MORE….
The settlements came in response to 170 or so subpoenas served by attorneys in the state Division of Law on various businesses accused by consumers of price gouging.·
They also involve a group of hotels and a hardware store. Combined, they have agreed to pay $282,844.72 – including reimbursement to 185 affected consumers.
Barclay Hospitality Services, Inc., doing business as Homewood Suites by Hilton, on Route 1 in Princeton, will reimburse 63 consumers a total of $3,532.74. In addition, Barclay has made a settlement payment of $92,000.
ESA P Portfolio d/b/a Extended Stay America Princeton, on Brunswick Pike, also in Princeton, will reimburse 53 consumers a total of $2,006.20. In addition, ESA P Portfolio will make a settlement payment of $61,879.77, which includes $56,114.40 in civil penalties, $3,982.50 in attorneys’ fees and $1,782.87 in investigative costs.
New Jersey’s price-gouging statute, N.J.S.A. 56:8-107, et. seq., prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency. Excessive price increases are defined as more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency. If a merchant faces additional costs during the emergency, prices may not exceed 10 percent above the normal markup from cost.
Violations are subject to civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for subsequent offenses; each sale of merchandise is considered a separate event.
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 .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.