James encourages New Yorkers to report price-gouging of essential items such as masks to her office
Submitted by the Office of New York Attorney General Letitia James
New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday issued a consumer alert urging New Yorkers to be vigilant of price-gouging of essential goods, such as masks, air purifiers and air filters, as New York’s air quality worsens due to Canadian wildfires.
Plumes of smoke from the Canadian wildfires have engulfed the state, lowering New York’s air quality and making it dangerous for particular health groups to be outside. New York’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.
“The poor air quality impacting our state should not be an excuse for companies to increase profits on essential items,” James said. “My office has zero tolerance for price-gouging of any kind; and if New Yorkers notice abnormally high prices for essential items, I urge them to report it immediately. I also urge New Yorkers to follow local health guidance to protect their health and stay safe.”
New York law prohibits businesses from taking unfair advantage of consumers by selling goods or services that are vital to their 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.
When reporting price gouging to the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), consumers should:
√ Report the specific increased prices, dates and places that they saw the increased prices; and
√ Provide copies of their sales receipts and photos of the advertised prices, if available.
New Yorkers should report potential concerns about price gouging to OAG by filing a complaint online or calling 800-771-7755.