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Cove Gets Protection From Storm Rip-Off Artists
by Cora Lewis | Aug 16, 2013 1:36 pm
Posted to: Environment, State, Morris Cove
Morris Cove’s Pardee Sea Wall has seen its share of storm surges since 2011. State Sens. Martin Looney and Toni Harp took advantage of calmer weather there to warn people about bad weather to come—and bad prices for storm response services.
Looney and Harp appeared at the wall on Friday morning to tour a storm-related price gouging law passed earlier this year. The event served to highlight Harp’s legislative record as she jockeys in a four-way race for mayor, with Looney’s support.
The price-gouging measure protects consumers from “unconscionably excessive” prices in the aftermath of severe weather emergencies. It’s an update to a previous law, passed in 1986 in response to Hurricane Gloria. That law only guarded against increased post-storm prices on goods and products, such as dry ice and other storm-proofing equipment. The updated law now applies to services as well, like tree and snow removal and flood repair.
“We’ve made sure you won’t be price-gouged. Now you take care you’ll be prepared,” said Sen. Harp at the photo-op.
A price is explicitly deemed “unconscionable” when there is “a gross disparity between the price of goods or services during the weather emergency and their average price 30 days before the emergency began,” according to a press release.
“Beginning in 2011, we became aware of a significant problem of price gouging in the cost of services that had to do with the cost of lodging, snow removal, or tree and debris cleaning after a storm, and hence we looked to expand our price gouging bill,” said Sen. Looney. “We know most businesses are responsible, but there are those who try to take advantage of the desperation of consumers in extreme situations.”
Sen. Paul Doyle said he was pleased to mark the anniversary of Hurricane Irene by “highlighting a law that will protect consumers during similar storms and ensure they do not get ripped off by crooked contractors.”