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AHH 24-Hr. News

Road Construction on West Front Street in Middletown Until Aug. 8
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Wall, NJ – New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) today announced that it is installing 1,500 feet of main on West Front Street in Middletown, between... Read More...
Matawan Contractor Admits Failing to Perform Work for Post-Sandy Victims
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
Admits He Took Deposits for Work He Never Did FREEHOLD, NJ - A Matawan-based contractor pleaded guilty to accusations of theft admitting he accepted... Read More...
IMAGE Telling Their Story Through the Power of Art
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
PHOTO: Amanda's Easel Program Coordinator Cindi Westendorf (second from left) and Canterbury Art Show volunteers in the 2013 art show gallery of... Read More...
IMAGE The Community YMCA Kicks Off ‘Togetherhood’ Initiative with School Supply Drive to Benefit Kids Near and Far
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
PHOTO: Sahar Akbarzai of Old Bridge helps Y campers create a mural that will travel to Afghanistan along with school supplies being collected at... Read More...
IMAGE Assistance Available for Organic Certification Costs
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
TRENTON, NJ  – The New Jersey Department of Agriculture announced a partnership with the federal government to reduce organic certification... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Not the Kind of Anchovy You Put on Pizza
by Joe Reynolds
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
If someone were to ask you the question what’s the most abundant and frequently found fish in Lower New York Bay, including Raritan Bay and Sandy... Read More...
IMAGE Review - Lucy
by David Prown
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
I saw the new movie, "Lucy" the other day starring Scarlett Johansson and Morgan Freeman and this movie is going to do well in the box office. Not... Read More...
IMAGE Adoption Involving Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
by Daniel J. Vance
Saturday, 26 July 2014
Laura Bloch adored his picture. “My husband and I had just been approved through an adoption agency and the agency sent out a letter with a picture... Read More...
IMAGE Is It The Shadow?
by Woody Zimmerman
Friday, 25 July 2014
“Who knows what evil lurks in the heart of man? (Hoo-hoo-hoo-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!) The Shadow...” Starting in the 1930s, and extending well into... Read More...
IMAGE Spectator’s Observations
by George Hancock-Stefan
Thursday, 24 July 2014
During the World Cup, I watched as many games as possible. I watched them here at home, I watched a couple of games in Turkey where they were... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Mon Aug 04 @ 8:00PM -
Middletown Township Committee Workshop Meeting
Tue Aug 05 @ 3:00PM - 04:30PM
Free Summer Mini-Camp
Wed Aug 06 @ 3:00PM - 04:30PM
Free Summer Mini-Camp
Thu Aug 07 @ 7:00PM - 09:00PM
Prostate Cancer Network- US TOO meets
Fri Aug 08 @ 7:30AM -
“Half Day Fluke Fishing” Cruise

NEWARK – Continuing the State’s commitment to investigate and follow through on each complaint of fraud related to Superstorm Sandy, Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that the State Division of Consumer Affairs has filed new lawsuits against businesses accused of price gouging during the storm’s immediate aftermath.

“Anyone paying attention in New Jersey knows we will not tolerate illegal attempts to take financial advantage of anyone affected by Superstorm Sandy,” Attorney General Chiesa said.  “We continue to investigate the more than 2,000 consumer complaints that were received during the storm’s immediate aftermath, even as we watch for possible new types of post-disaster fraud.”

The newest lawsuits include a Studio Inn and Suites hotel in Galloway, accused of raising its room rates by as much as 283 percent during the days following the storm, and a Berkeley Hotel in Asbury Park, accused of raising its room rates by as much as 117 percent.  The two hotels allegedly engaged in a total of more than 460 incidents of price gouging.

The State is also suing a C&M Exxon gas station, in East Hanover, which is accused of raising its prices for regular gasoline by as much as 26.3 percent, and for premium by as much as 34.2 percent.  According to the State’s lawsuits, none of the three businesses faced higher costs that would have justified the price increases during a declared state of emergency.  Such conduct is prohibited under New Jersey’s price gouging law.

“The victims of price gouging are families who were displaced from their homes, desperate for shelter, heat, and fuel as a result of the most severe natural disaster in New Jersey’s history,” Eric T. Kanefsky, Acting Director of the State Division of Consumer Affairs, said.  “We owe it to these New Jersey residents to see every allegation of price gouging to its proper end.”

The defendants in the newest lawsuits are:

Devsatya, Inc., doing business as Studio Inn & Suites, at 257 East White Horse Pike, Galloway.  Between October 27 and November 13 this hotel allegedly raised its rates by as much as 283 percent above the prices charged for the same rooms prior to the state of emergency. The hotel allegedly engaged in a total of 183 instances of price gouging during the state of emergency.

Berkeley Hotel LLC, doing business as The Berkeley Hotel, at 1401 Ocean Parkway, Asbury Park.  Between October 27 and November 11, this hotel allegedly raised its rates by as much as 117 percent above the prices charged for the same rooms prior to the state of emergency.  The hotel allegedly engaged in a total of 280 instances of price gouging during the state of emergency.

East Hanover Amoco, Inc., doing business as C&M Exxon, at 29 Ridgedale Avenue, East Hanover.  This gas station allegedly charged as much as $4.799 for credit card sales of regular gasoline – an increase of 26.3 percent above its price prior to the state of emergency.  The business allegedly charged as much as $5.099 for credit card sales of premium gasoline – an increase of 34.2 percent above the price prior to the state of emergency.  

New Jersey’s price gouging statute prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency.  Excessive price increases are defined as more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency.  If a merchant faces additional costs during the emergency, prices may not exceed 10 percent above the normal markup from cost.

In addition to the three new price gouging lawsuits, the State has also filed three actions in Superior Court to enforce subpoenas it previously served on companies accused by consumers of price gouging during Sandy’s aftermath.  The companies failed to comply with the State’s request for information regarding the allegations, and the State is suing to enforce their compliance.

To date, the State has filed suit against a total of 27 businesses – 15 hotels and 12 gas stations – for alleged price gouging during the Superstorm Sandy emergency.  Two of the lawsuits have been settled, with two gas stations agreeing to collectively pay $46,000.

The State Division of Consumer Affairs is part of New Jersey’s Statewide Sandy Fraud Working Group, created by Attorney General Chiesa. Victims or witnesses of fraud committed in the aftermath of Sandy, including but not limited to home repair fraud, insurance fraud, and fraudulent charitable solicitations, should contact the Working Group at 855-SANDY39 (855-726-3939) or www.StopSandyFraud.org.

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