CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General James Warns New Yorkers of Price Gouging on Essential Goods in Aftermath of Heavy Rainstorms in 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 and services in the aftermath of heavy rainstorms that caused flash flooding and significant damages in New York City, Long Island, the Hudson Valley, and other parts of the state. 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 and services, including ride-hailing, to report the issue to her office.
“Heavy rain and flash flooding have devastated New York City and parts of the state and I am reminding businesses that they cannot use this storm as an excuse to jack up prices,” said Attorney General James. “Families and neighbors should not have to pay extra for basic necessities as they are dealing with flooding, damages, and road closures. I urge New Yorkers to report any unreasonably high prices for essential items to my office. I also encourage New Yorkers impacted by the storms to 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.
Price gouging violations can carry penalties of up to $25,000 per violation. New Yorkers should report potential concerns about price gouging to OAG by filing a complaint online or calling 800-771-7755.