New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced Thursday that his office has notified 13 gas station operators, including one from Cedarhurst, of his intent to commence enforcement proceedings against them for violations of the New York State Price Gouging statute.
Schneiderman said that the Shell gas station located at 408 Rockaway Turnpike in Cedarhurst was charging more than $5 for a gallon of regular gasoline.
Prices on the 13 gas stations ranged from $4.74 to more than $5.50 per gallon.
Of the 13 stations, the Cedarhurst location was the only one in Nassau County. Three other stations were located in Suffolk, while the remainder were in Westchester, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx.
These are the first of what Schneiderman said is "expected to be a series of actions taken in a wide-ranging investigation launched in the wake of Hurricane Sandy for price gouging after receiving hundreds of complaints from consumers across the state of New York."
"Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging and we are taking action to send a message that ripping off New Yorkers is against the law," Schneiderman said.
According to a release, New York State’s Price Gouging Law (General Business Law 396-r) prohibits merchants from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an "unconscionably excessive price" during an "abnormal disruption of the market."
Under state law, Hurricane Sandy is classified as an "abnormal disruption of the market."
Schneiderman said that an "unconscionably excessive price" can be determined if there is a "gross disparity" between the price stemming from a consumer complaint and the price before the "abnormal disruption."
"These 13 retailers stand out from others in the high prices they have charged and in the size of their price increases," Schneiderman said.