The New York attorney general’s office hit popular web site Craigslist.org with a subpoena for the names and identifying information of sellers who are purposefully jacking up prices on essential goods like gas and generators, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, according to the New York Post.
The subpoena is part of a larger investigation by AG Eric Schneiderman into post-storm price gouging by unscrupulous grocery stores, hardware stores, hotels and others.
The AG’s office is looking into more than 100 of the worst Craigslist sellers in New York, according to an official, like a brazen poster who was selling a five gallon empty gas container for $500. Others were selling the containers – which retail for under $20 – for between $40 and $100 on the site.
On Craigslist, greedy sellers were selling gas for between $20 and $100 a gallon, according to listings. Gas is currently around $4.12 a gallon, according to the Post, but it’s only available after an hours-long wait at many stations.
The web site also features dozens of ads for generators, which are being offered for double the price during a time when hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers are still without power.
According to the Post, New York law prohibits taking advantage of consumers by selling goods or services for an “unconscionably excessive price” during an emergency.
“Our office has zero tolerance for price gouging [and] will do everything we can to stop unscrupulous individuals from taking advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives,” Schneiderman said, in a statement.
New Yorkers can report price gouging by phone at (800) 771-7755 or on the New York Attorney General’s web site, http://www.ag.ny.gov.