N.J. cracks down on price gouging

Posted: November 03, 2012

The New Jersey Attorney General's Office has brought charges against 65 businesses accused of price gouging in the aftermath of Sandy, the office announced Friday.

Gas stations, convenience stores, restaurants, hotels and stores selling emergency supplies such as generators were among the businesses charged. The businesses are located across the state, but the charges were concentrated in Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, and Passaic Counties.

"Fuel, electricity, food, and a place to sleep are not luxuries, certainly not for individuals who have been displaced from their homes and in many cases have limited resources at their disposal," Gov. Christie said in a statement.

The charges come four days after Sandy battered the region, sending storm surges across barrier islands and knocking out power to millions of homes.

As of Friday afternoon, an estimated 40 to 50 percent of New Jersey's gas stations were open, leading to long waits at the pump, according to American Automobile Association.

And the largest number of complaints involved gas stations, some of whom were charging upward of $5 a gallon following the storm.

State investigators plan to have brought charges against 100 filling stations by the end of the weekend.

Under New Jersey law, price gouging is defined as charging more than "10 percent above the normal markup from cost."

Those found guilty face up to a $10,000 fine for the first offense and a $20,000 thereafter.


Contact James Osborne at 856-779-3876 or jaosborne@phillynews.com and follow on Twitter @osborneja.

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