NY Attorney General warns against price gouging during current winter storm

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – New York State Attorney General Letitia James is warning businesses not to price gouge during the current winter storms in Western and Northern New York.

In a Saturday press release, the attorney general issued an alert against price gouging of essential items amid the winter storm, which will bring heavy wind and lake-effect snow to parts of the state.

A state of emergency has been declared by the Governor in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, and Wyoming counties.

The state’s price gouging statute prevents businesses from taking advantage of consumers by selling essential goods or services at an excessively higher price during market disruptions or emergencies.

Ahead of major storms, and in their aftermaths, New Yorkers should be able to stock up on supplies without worrying that businesses might try to take advantage by jacking up prices. Charging excessive prices for essential products during weather emergencies is illegal and wrong, and it will never be tolerated in our state. I urge New Yorkers to remain vigilant and safe and report any price gouging to my office.

New York State Attorney General Letitia James

State law prohibits businesses from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are vital to health, safety, or welfare for an unconscionably excessive price during emergencies. The price gouging statute covers New York state vendors, retailers, and suppliers, and includes essential goods and services that are necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers or the general public. These goods and services include food, water, gasoline, generators, batteries, flashlights, hotel lodging, and transportation options.

Attorney General James urges New Yorkers who see higher prices on essential goods and services to report the issue to her office. 

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