New Jersey Moves Rapidly on Price Gouging Investigations

Michael Giberson

NJ OAG post-Sandy price gouging complaint charts
Click image to see NJ AG press release and larger versions of the graphics above.

Something new in the realm of price gouging law enforcement: speedy action.

Frequently states begin investigations of consumer complaints only after the emergency is over, conclude investigations months later, and then begin negotiating some sort of settlement with accused stations. You may recall that New Jersey only finally reached a conclusion in its single post-Hurricane Irene price gouging case over a year after the storm struck. The state only initiated the complaint against the gasoline station in mid-December of last year, about three months after the storm.

So Friday’s announcement of eight price gouging complaints by the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General was something of a surprise.

The press release includes links to all eight complaints for the interested reader, each including details on the alleged violations. Apparently as early as November 1 investigators for the state were visiting retail gasoline stations in response to consumer complaints. These eight complaints–seven gasoline retailers and a hotel–represent among them a bit less than 200 of the approximately 2000 complaints that the state has received.

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