Holiday Inn in Hazlet, New Jersey to Pay $75,000 to Settle Superstorm Sandy Price-Gouging Charges
David P. Willis | Asbury Park Press, N.J. | October 31, 2013 1:00am
Oct. 31--Holiday Inn in Hazlet will pay $75,000 to settle charges that it price-gouged customers before and after superstorm Sandy swirled toward New Jersey.
The state Attorney General and Division of Consumer Affairs announced on Wednesday a settlement with Riya Hazlet Hotel, the owner of the Holiday Inn on Route 35 in Hazlet. The hotel will pay $75,000, including $2,951.91 in consumer restitution, officials said.
The remainder encompasses $52,121.72 in civil penalties and $19,926.36 in attorneys' fees and investigative costs.
It is part of a settlement in which nine hotels and gas stations agreed to pay a total of more than $430,000 in civil penalties, consumer restitution and reimbursement of attorneys' and investigative costs to settle lawsuits filed by the state. They made no admission of wrongdoing.
The state alleged that they raised their prices more than 10 percent during the state of emergency announced because of Sandy, a violation of state law.
For example, in court papers, the state said Holiday Inn in Hazlet hiked the rate of one room on Oct. 27, the first day of the state of emergency and several days before Sandy hit, to $229.95 per night, a 70.4 percent increase.
"We expect all of our state's businesses to comply with our price-gouging law during future states of emergency and our investigators stand ready to ensure they do so," said Eric T. Kanefsky, consumer affairs director.
David P. Willis: 732-643-4039; firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/dpwillis732