What is Price Gouging?
Price gouging is raising the price of a product excessively higher than the merchant’s cost to take advantage of a shortage caused by an emergency, like the pandemic we’re now in.
Is Price Gouging Really a Crime?
Yes, under NY State and NY City laws. The state law prohibits selling consumer goods during an abnormal disruption of the market at an unconscionably excessive price.
Who decides if the price is “unconscionably excessive” or just kind of high?
The judge does. The question is whether there was a gross disparity between the price of the goods or services before and after the emergency. If the merchant had to pay a much higher price to get the goods, he can use that as a defense.
What Can I Do if I Have Been a Victim on Price Gouging? Do I Have to Buy the Product to Complain? Read More
Is There a NY City Law Against Price Gouging?
Yes – and it’s tougher than the state law. The City’s emergency rule enacted on March 16, 2020. Any increase in price over 10% is a violation, and the City has been issuing numerous summonses to violators. Click this link for a list of the products covered by this Emergency Rule.
How Can I File a Price Gouging Complaint With the City of New York?
Click this link to go to the NYC Complaint Form. To make a City law complaint, you have to buy the product and they will ask you for a receipt.
Ladies – Toilet Paper is not covered under the City law, but you can complain to the State.
Is There a Federal Law Against Price Gouging?
No, but on March 23rd President Trump issued an Executive Order instructing the Department of Health and Human Resources and the Department of Justice (USDOJ) to enforce the anti-hoarding provisions of the Defense Production Act against those who hoard supplies of necessary health and medical resources. Read More