TRENTON – New Jersey’s Office of the Attorney General announced Friday lawsuits were filed against eight businesses in the state accused of price gouging in the wake of Superstorm Sandy.
The state’s Division of Consumer Affairs brought civil cases against seven gas stations and one motel, said Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa. Among the accused price gougers is a New Jersey gas station Chiesa says charged $5.49 per gallon for regular gasoline – a more than $2 a gallon increase above pre-storm prices.
The governor’s office said it intends to pursue alleged price gougers who sought to make a profit during the disaster. According to state statute, price gougers face civil penalties of up to $10,000 for the first offense and up to $20,000 for subsequent offenses.
“New Jersey has a tough price gouging law to ensure that profiteers will not take unfair advantage of people at their most vulnerable,” Gov. Chris Christie said in a statement.
“Those who have been displaced from their homes, have limited resources, and are seeking fuel, shelter, and the basic necessities of life,” he said.
“Having visited the hardest-hit areas of our state, and having seen firsthand the suffering caused to so many of our residents, I have directed the Attorney General to aggressively investigate price gouging complaints. Businesses operating in New Jersey will obey our laws – or face significant penalties.”
The companies facing lawsuits are: Kistruga Inc. (Lukoil station) in Paterson; C.S. George & Sons Inc. (George’s Gulf station) in Clifton; Alen Service Corp. (Lukoil station) in Newark; Vinny Fuel Corp. (Delta Gas) in Bloomfield; Perth Amboy NJPO (BP station) in Perth Amboy; S&D LLC (Exxon station) in Lyndhurst; Couto & Sons Inc. (Sunocco station) in Newark; and Ratan Hospitality Group LLC (Howard Johnson Express) in Parsippany.
Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846.