AG: $400,000 in Sandy price-gouging cases

The state will collect over $437,000 from nine alleged Superstorm Sandy price-gougers, primarily gas stations and motels.

The Attorney General announced the latest settlements Wednesday, bringing the total amount of penalties from companies that allegedly ripped off consumers to $816,313.

There are another nine outstanding lawsuits against businesses that reportedly mistreated Sandy victims in the days and weeks following last year’s superstorm.

“As we work to resolve the remaining lawsuits and investigations, all businesses in New Jersey should be on notice that we will never tolerate the gouging of consumers and that we will swiftly act against those who attempt to illegally enrich themselves during a declared State of Emergency,” Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said.

The Division of Consumer Affairs received more than 2,000 consumer complaints about alleged price gouging by gas stations, hotels and other businesses immediately following the State of Emergency declared on October 27, 2012.  

The lawsuits against the following nine businesses have been settled:

Hotels

 

  • Hospitality Management of Parsippany, LLC, d/b/a Days Inn, 3159 Route 46 East, Parsippany

Will pay $70,000.00, which includes $8,240.11 in consumer restitution.  The State will receive $61,759.89, which includes $53,062.74 in civil penalties and $8,697.15 in attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.

 

  • OM Dutt, LLC, d/b/a America’s Best Value Inn, 1311 Route 22 West, Phillipsburg

Will pay $7,909.50.  An additional $40,000 civil penalty is suspended, but will become payable if violations occur within two years.

 

  • Ratan Hospitality Group, LLC, d/b/a Howard Johnson Express, 625 Rt. 46 East, Parsippany; Howard Johnson Express, 680 Rt. 3 West, Clifton; Holiday Inn Express, 2600 Tonnelle Ave., North Bergen; and Ramada Inn, 120 Evergreen Place, East Orange

Will pay $111,700.00, which includes $9,588.56 in consumer restitution. The State will receive $86,860.84 in civil penalties and $15,250.60 in attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.

 

  • Riya Hazlet Hotel, d/b/a Holiday Inn, 2870 Rt. 35, Hazlet

Will pay $75,000.00, which includes $2,951.91 in consumer restitution.  The State will receive $52,121.73 in civil penalties and $19,926.36 in attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.

 

Gas Stations

 

  • Alen Service Corp., doing business as (d/b/a) Lukoil gas station, 335 McCarter Highway, Newark

Will pay the State a total of $30,000.00, including $9,179.42 in civil penalties and $20,820.58 for reimbursement of its attorneys’ fees and investigative costs.  An additional $7,500.00 civil penalty is suspended but will become payable if violations occur during the next year.

 

  • Empire Oil, LLC, d/b/a Delta gas station, 7319 Bergenline Ave., North Bergen

Will pay $18,000.00 in civil penalties to the State. An additional $36,400.00 penalty is suspended, but will become payable if violations occur during the next three years.

 

  • Jenny’s Shell Station, LLC, 461 Bloomfield Avenue, Bloomfield

Will pay $40,000.00, which includes $33,535.87 in civil penalties and $6,464.13 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

 

 

  • Vinny Fuel Corp, d/b/a Delta gas station, 141 Bloomfield Ave., Bloomfield

Will pay $15,000.00 in civil penalties to the State.  An additional $6,927.44 penalty is suspended but will become payable if violations occur during the next two years.

In addition, the Court granted the State’s motion for Summary Judgment against Perth Amboy NJPO LLC, d/b/a BP, 163 Fayette St., Perth Amboy.  The Court has ordered payment of $69,929.52, comprised of $51,859.52 in civil penalties and $18,070.00 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

AG: $400,000 in Sandy price-gouging cases