Consumer Alert:
Attorney General James Warns Against Price Gouging of Essential Goods in Aftermath of Devastating Storms Across New York

AG James Encourages New Yorkers to Report Price Gouging of Essential Items to Her Office

NEW YORK – New York Attorney General Letitia James today issued a consumer alert warning against price gouging of essential goods in the aftermath of storms that caused flash flooding, power outages, and significant damages in the Hudson Valley, Western New York, and the Capital Region. A state of emergency has been declared in counties impacted by the heavy storms. New York’s price gouging statute prevents businesses from taking advantage of consumers by selling essential goods or services at an excessively higher price during market disruptions or emergencies. Attorney General James urges New Yorkers who see higher prices on essential goods like water, batteries, or generators to report the issue to her office.

“Strong storms have caused significant damage across the state and families shouldn’t have to worry about price gouging as they stock up on essential supplies,” said Attorney General James. “That is why I am sending a clear warning to businesses that they cannot use this as an opportunity to raise prices on essential items. I urge New Yorkers who see higher prices on essential goods to report it to my office immediately. New Yorkers impacted by the storms should also follow local guidance to stay safe.”

New York law prohibits businesses from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are vital to health, safety, or welfare for an unconscionably excessive price during emergencies. The price gouging statute covers New York state vendors, retailers, and suppliers, and includes essential goods and services that are necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers or the general public. These goods and services include food, water, gasoline, generators, batteries, flashlights, hotel lodging, and transportation options.

When reporting price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), consumers should:

  • Report the specific increased prices, dates, and places that they saw the increased prices; and,
  • Provide copies of their sales receipts and photos of the advertised prices, if available.

New Yorkers should report potential concerns about price gouging to OAG by filing a complaint online or calling 800-771-7755.