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Press Release

For Immediate Release:
October 30, 2013

Office of The Attorney General
John J. Hoffman, Acting Attorney General

Division of Consumer Affairs
Eric T. Kanefsky, Director

Division of Law
Christopher S. Porrino, Director
  For Further Information and Media Inquiries:
Jeff Lamm
Neal Buccino
(973) 504-6327

Alleged Price Gougers Will Pay Over $430,000 to Settle State Lawsuits Filed Following Superstorm Sandy; Total Recoveries in Sandy Gouging Cases Top $800,000

NEWARK – The Office of the Attorney General and its Divisions of Consumer Affairs and Law have reached settlements with another nine companies alleged to have pricegouged customers following Superstorm Sandy, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced today. Under terms of these settlements, the State will obtain $437,538 in penalties, fees and consumer restitution.

To date, 18 of the 27 lawsuits filed by the Office of the Attorney General against businesses alleged to have engaged in price gouging during the State of Emergency declared for Superstorm Sandy by Governor Chris Christie have been resolved.

With the eight most recent consent settlements and one judgment announced today, the State will obtain $816,313 in civil penalties, consumer restitution and reimbursement of its attorneys' fees and investigative costs.

"Under Governor Christie's leadership, we've acted to hold accountable these businesses for their price gouging during the State of Emergency," Acting Attorney General Hoffman said. "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."

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 first price-gouging lawsuits were filed by the Divisions of Law and Consumer Affairs in November 2012, with 27 businesses sued to date.The lawsuits against the following nine businesses have been settled since the last round of case updates issued in July:

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.

    Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the State Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll free within New Jersey) or 973-504- 6200.

    Follow the Division of Consumer Affairs on Facebook , and check our online calendar of upcoming Consumer Outreach events.

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    Last Modified: 3/6/2015 12:27 PM