New York State Attorney General Letitia James has issued a warning to businesses in Western and Northern New York, urging them not to engage in price gouging during the ongoing winter storms. In a press release on Saturday, the attorney general emphasized the need to prevent the unfair inflation of prices for essential items, particularly in light of the heavy wind and lake effect snow expected in certain areas of the state.
The Governor has declared a state of emergency in Allegany, Cattaraugus, Cayuga, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Jefferson, Lewis, Livingston, Monroe, Niagara, Ontario, Orleans, Oswego, and Wyoming counties. During market disruptions or emergencies, the state’s price gouging statute prohibits businesses from unfairly raising the prices of essential goods or services, protecting consumers from exploitation.
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 selling vital goods or services at excessively high prices during emergencies. This includes vendors, retailers, and suppliers in New York state. The statute covers essential products and services that are necessary for the health, safety, and welfare of consumers or the general public.
The goods and services that fall under this category encompass a wide range of essentials, such as food, water, gasoline, generators, batteries, flashlights, hotel lodging, and transportation options. It is of utmost importance for New Yorkers to be aware that if they come across inflated prices on these vital goods and services, they should promptly report the matter to Attorney General James’ office.