March 11, 2020 By Christian Murray
New York Attorney General Letitia James ordered an Astoria supermarket to cease and desist charging customers excessive prices for disinfectant spray.
James ordered two stores—one in Manhattan and the other the Astoria supermarket—to stop profiting from people’s fear of the Coronavirus.
She said that investigators found that City Fresh Market, located at 21-15 Broadway in Astoria, was charging its customers $14.99 for an 19 oz bottle of disinfectant spray. Meanwhile, Scheman & Grant Hardware–doing business as Ace Hardware in Midtown Manhattan—was charging $79.99 for a 1200mL bottle of hand sanitizer.
Scheman was also price gouging on face masks and was fined over the weekend, according to the AG’s office.
“On my watch, we will not tolerate schemes or frauds designed to turn large profits by exploiting people’s health concerns,” James said. “While there remains no cause for widespread panic, some people are looking to prey on others’ anxiety and line their own pockets. My office will remain vigilant in ensuring that we find and stop such unlawful activity.”
James said the businesses were in breach of Section 396-R of the New York General Business Law, which prohibits the sale of goods necessary for the health of consumers at excessive prices during any abnormal disruption of the market.
She said that Office of Attorney General investigators will continue to monitor businesses across the state for potential scams designed to exploit public concern related to the spread of the Coronavirus.
James urged residents to report retailers to her office if they appear to be taking advantage of consumer fear through price gouging.
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