PA Attorney General Settles Claim Involving Price Gouging in the Wake of Hurricane Sandy

On Thursday, July 17, Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen G. Kane announced that the Commonwealth had reached a settlement agreement with an LLC accused of price gouging in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The Pennsylvania Bureau of Consumer Protection claimed that the owners of an Allentown motel had violated the Pennsylvania Price Gouging Act, which prohibits any business from selling goods or services at an “unconscionably excessive price” during or within 30 days of a state of emergency. “Unconscionably excessive” has usually been defined as equal to or greater than 20 percent more than its value a week before the declaration of the state of emergency. The Bureau contended that the Hotel had charged a 20 percent higher rate to rent a room in the wake of Sandy, alleging 120 separate instances of price gouging. Attorney General Kane’s office filed suit against the owners of the hotel on Wednesday, July 16 in LeHigh County Court. As part of the settlement agreement, the owners agreed to pay $10,042 in restitution to eligible consumers who were affected by the price gouging in addition to civil penalties to the state.