BY BOB HOLT
Many New Jersey counties fell under a state of emergency last week when Friday’s storms cut power to tens of thousands of residents. There was even a major water main break in Monmouth County, forcing towns to boil their water.
Reports are alleging that some merchants may be looking to make the most of the bad situation.
John Madkiff of Vineland said he was told that a hotel room at the Wingate by Wyndham cost $79 a night.
“We got here last night and they charged us $179," he said to WTXF Fox 29. Wingate owner Ed Roth said the price increase was due to the travel season increasing in July.
The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs reminded merchants on Monday that the state’s price gouging statute makes it illegal to set price increases of more than ten percent during a declared state of emergency or for 30 days after the state of emergency ends.
“During life-threatening emergencies, New Jerseyans should look out for each other – not seek to take advantage of each other,” Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said, according to Shore News Today.
Back in September during Hurricane Irene, an Associated Press report said Allstate New Jersey Insurance Company received complaints from customers that they've been charged thousands of dollars to pump water out of basements when the charge should have been in the hundreds. Some complaints also came in to the Division of Consumer Affairs about overcharging for bottled water and gasoline.