Policy: Law

N.J. hotel settles post-Sandy price-gouging allegations

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New Jersey,Hurricane Sandy,Law,Legal Newsline
Hoffman

Hoffman

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) – New Jersey Acting Attorney General John Hoffman announced a $110,000 settlement on Monday with a Bergen County hotel to resolve allegations of unlawful price gouging during the Superstorm Sandy state of emergency.

Tapah LLC, doing business as Comfort Suites Mahwah, allegedly engaged in 473 instances of price gouging in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy. In some instances, the hotel allegedly charged more than $100 in excess of the price increases allowed under the state’s price gouging statute.

Under New Jersey’s price gouging statute, excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency are prohibited. The law defines excessive price increases as prices that are more than 10 percent above the price at which the merchandise was sold prior to the state of emergency.

“This hotel allegedly violated New Jersey’s price gouging law nearly 500 times during the first 12 days of the Superstorm Sandy state of emergency, when desperate families had to flee their homes and seek new shelter,” Hoffman said.

An additional $35,000 in civil penalties against Comfort Suites Mahwah will remain suspended if the business complies with the terms of the settlement during the next year.

Hoffman’s office filed 27 lawsuits against businesses that allegedly engaged in price gouging during the Superstorm Sandy state of emergency, 22 of which have been resolved. Including the settlement with Comfort Suites Mahwah, the state has obtained a total of $1,016,158.68 in consumer restitution, civil penalties and the reimbursement of attorney fees from the price gouging lawsuits.

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