N.J. settles with another hotel over price gouging during Sandy emergency

New Jersey has come to terms with another business accused of price gouging during the state of emergency during and after Superstorm Sandy.

Amy Hotels has agreed to pay the state $64,000 to settle allegations that it raised rates as much as 150 percent at the Econo Lodge in Egg Harbor Township.

The company was accused of 545 instances of price gouging in the days after Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency during Sandy, said Neal Buccino, spokesman for the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

“This was a chaotic time when many residents were displaced from their homes and in need of a place to stay,” he said Wednesday. “Residents of many New Jersey communities needed to find shelter due to flooding, power outages, or even the complete destruction of their homes.”

The state has resolved 23 of 27 lawsuits it filed against hotels, gas stations, and other businesses for price gouging during the state of emergency. So far, it has collected more than a million dollars in civil penalties and restitution.

Consumer protection officials are hoping the state’s stern response will prevent other businesses from taking advantage of customers during any future emergencies.

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