The Oneida Daily Dispatch (Oneida, NY)
AG James announces price gouging rules to protect consumers and small businesses
NEW YORK >> New York Attorney General Letitia James recently proposed rules to protect consumers and small businesses from corporate profiteering. The rules would strengthen enforcement of New York’s price gouging law, which was updated in 2020 to grant the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) rulemaking authority. The proposed rules will make it more straightforward to investigate and combat price gouging by setting clear guardrails against price increases during emergencies. The proposed rules are a continuation of Attorney General James’ efforts to protect consumers and are open to a 60-day public comment period.
“Soaring costs of essentials have pushed hardworking New Yorkers to the brink and forced hard decisions around kitchen tables,” said James. “The rules proposed by my office will bolster our efforts to crack down on price gouging and ensure that large corporations do not take advantage of New Yorkers during difficult times. When times get tough, New Yorkers can trust that my office will always have their back.”
New York’s price gouging law bans companies throughout the supply chain from taking advantage of a market disruption to increase their profits for vital and necessary goods and services. The statute asserts that an abnormal market disruption is caused by extreme weather events, military action, energy disruptions, strikes, or national or local emergencies, or another event that leads to a declared state of emergency. In 2020, the New York State Legislature amended the law to empower OAG with rulemaking authority.
In March 2022, OAG launched the first-ever price gouging rulemaking process to gather information from consumers and industry experts on how to strengthen and clarify the state’s price gouging statute. The proposed rules announced today are informed by OAG’S decades of experience enforcing the price gouging statute and by the public comments submitted by advocates, trade groups, and economic experts. The proposed rules include actions to:
The rules announced continue James’ efforts to combat price gouging and protect consumers. Throughout the pandemic, during major disruptions, and ahead of declared disasters, James has issued consumer warnings against price gouging on essential supplies.
In Dec. 2022, James cautioned against price gouging ahead of a snowstorm that hit Western New York. In May 2022, James issued warnings to more than 30 retailers across the state to stop overcharging for baby formula after consumers reported unreasonably high prices. In April 2021, she recovered 1.2 million eggs from one of the nation’s largest egg producers, Hillandale Farms, for pricegouging eggs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The proposed rules are open to comment for a 60day public comment period. Comments can be submitted by emailing: email@example.com. After reviewing public comments, the rules may be promulgated as is or may be revised upon further analysis.