Price gouging but unscrupulous merchants is illegal in all 50 states, especially in case of dire need–such as was the situation following the storm which struck the East Coast.
In all this initial round of price gouging notices hit 13 gas stations including some in Nassau County, Suffolk County, Westchester County, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx. Scheiderman said his office has received hundreds of complaints about price gouging since the storm struck and that more notices will likely be sent as other cases are brought forward.
During times of emergency, especially when the market is disrupted say by a power failure, flooding or fire, it is easy for merchants to charge more for their essential products because consumers are desperate. This desperation fades, however, and consumers have a long memory when it comes to those merchants who took advantage of them during the crisis. Law enforcement might seem to turn a blind eye while in the midst of the crisis, but they too have a long memory, and usually the evidence they need to prove someone violated the law by trying to take advantage of people desperate for help.
In the coming weeks it seems likely New York will pursue other stations, some of whom might right now be counting the extra cash they “earned” when they too advantage of their neighbors.