Ulster County law aims to protect consumers from price-gouging during emergencies

Legislature Minority Leader Ken Ronk and County Executive Pat Ryan

A county law aims to protect consumers from unfair trade practice and price-gouging on any consumer goods or services within Ulster County during a declared emergency.

According to the new law, during or immediately after a declared state of emergency, businesses are prohibited from increasing prices by more than 25 percent on items less than $499.99; 15 percent on items between $500 and $2,499.99; 10% on items between $2,500 and $9,999.99; and more than 2 percent on items that cost $100,000 or more. Affected items include but are not limited to: hand sanitizer, toilet paper, sanitizing wipes, and other items of necessity during the pandemic or other items of necessity in the event of a declared emergency. Violators of the law may be referred to the district attorney for prosecution. In addition, a fine may be levied from $250 to $5,000 per day for violators.

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“One of my Big Five priorities is to deliver a more responsive and responsible government to the people of Ulster County and this piece of legislation does just that,” said County Executive Ryan. “It is unfortunate that such a law is needed, but I am proud that here in Ulster County we are doing everything in our power to protect consumers from individuals who are looking to profit off of residents in their most vulnerable moments. I want to thank Minority Leader Ronk, Legislator Lopez, along with their colleagues for their work on this initiative.”

“I am proud to say that the residents of Ulster County will be protected for years to come against profiteers using natural disasters and states of emergency to take advantage of our most vulnerable populations,” said Minority Leader Ken Ronk. “This law will ensure that price gouging during our worst times will not be tolerated in Ulster County.”

“Ulster County is still a place where most local businesses look out for their neighbors,” said Legislator Craig Lopez. “This law will offer protections to consumers and legitimate business owners alike from the unscrupulous price gouging and ‘snake-oil-salesmen’ that seem to pop up to prey on the public during and after an emergency. As the sponsor, I’d like to thank my colleagues for the unanimous bipartisan support and county executive Pat Ryan for signing this very important legislation into law.”

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