BY BOB HOLT
Events like Hurricane Sandy can often bring a community together, but other times it brings out the worst in people.
New Jersey has received more than 500 complaints of price gouging for gasoline, food, lodging, and other supplies since the coming of Hurricane Sandy.
Myfoxny.com reports that the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs issued subpoenas to 65 state businesses on Friday. Gasoline prices were a leading complaint, allegedly rising by $1 or more per gallon, and at some stations the price allegedly went above $5 per gallon.
Prices for generators, batteries and fuels like propane were other issues, with generator prices allegedly doubling from prices posted before the hurricane.
New Jersey Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said authorities expect to issue more than 100 subpoenas to New Jersey gas stations by the time the weekend is over, according to lehighvalleylive.com. Businesses will then be required to show receipts comparing prices and costs from before and after Hurricane Sandy’s arrival, he said.
Governor Chris Christie said, according to CBS Philly, “Having seen firsthand the suffering people are experiencing, I assure New Jersey’s residents and retailers that we are taking a zero-tolerance approach to price gouging,”
Price gouging laws in New Jersey make it illegal to raise prices any more than 10 percent higher during an area’s state of emergency than the price at which something was sold during a normal business day. The price increase law applies for 30 days after the state of emergency ends.
Consumers who see evidence of price gouging or other violations are asked to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at (800) 242-5846.