The New York City Department of Consumer and Worker Protection announced today that DCWP has extended its emergency price gouging rule, which was scheduled to expire this week, for an additional 60 days. DCWP first issued the rule in mid-March. Prior to issuing the rule, DCWP had prohibited price gouging on face masks and hand sanitizer. Since March 5th, DCWP has issued more than 6,200 violations for price gouging.
Under the City's pricing gouging rule, it is illegal for businesses to increase prices by ten percent or more (unless they are paying more to obtain these items themselves). The rule covers good and services -- such as disinfectants, soap, and cleaning products, diagnostic products and services, medicines, and tissues -- that are needed to prevent or limit the spread of or treat COVID-19.
DCWP is also proposing to promulgate a new, permanent price gouging rule, which would make price gouging illegal for any products or services essential to health, safety, and welfare. DCWP will hold a public hearing on the proposed rule on June 12, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. The public hearing will be accessible by phone and video conference. Comments on the proposed rule can be submitted by speaking at the hearing and can also be submitted online and by e-mail to RuleComments@dca.nyc.gov. The deadline to submit comments is June 12 at 2:00 p.m.
In a statement, DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas said, "We have made it clear we will not tolerate price gouging but unfortunately we still see some businesses are not listening. We will not have businesses take advantage of consumers during this public health emergency or any future emergencies we face."
"We will not have businesses take advantage of consumers during this public health emergency or any future emergencies we face" -- DCWP Commissioner Lorelei Salas