NORTH BERGEN – According to a press release, Gov. Chris Christie, Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa, and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs announced on Wednesday, Nov. 28 that they are accusing several businesses of allegedly illegally overcharging consumers during the Hurricane Sandy state of emergency. This is a second round of accusations for alleged price gouging.
Three of the hotels charged with price gouging are owned by an affiliated group of companies, Ratan Hospitality Group, based in North Bergen.
“This one company and its four hotels allegedly committed a staggering number of violations of the price gouging law, and each separate violation merits a penalty of up to five figures,” said Attorney General Chiesa in the press release. “Safe, comfortable lodging is not a luxury when people have been displaced from their homes during a state of emergency. It is a basic necessity. We have no tolerance for businesses seeking to unlawfully profit from the desperation of others during this unprecedented storm.”
One hotel on Tonnelle Ave is accused of allegedly charging as much as $399.99 per room a night during the state of emergency, according to the release. This was apparently an increase of 92 percent above the highest rate charged prior to the state of emergency, which was $208 per room a night. According to the release, this hotel is allegedly engaged in 109 instances of price gouging during the state of emergency.
The latest release also names gas stations, including one on Bergenline Avenue. That gas station allegedly raised the price of gas from $3.40 per gallon to $4.10.
Consumers who suspect price gouging or any other violation of consumer protection laws, particularly as a result of Hurricane Sandy, are urged to call the Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846 or visit their website, http://njconsumeraffairs.gov/