State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a warning Thursday for people to be on guard for businesses attempting to price gouge during this weekend's snowstorm.
“Dangerous winter storms are not a time for businesses to exploit New Yorkers in order to line their pockets,” Schneiderman said. “I encourage consumers to report any businesses that may be capitalizing on this snowstorm to distort their prices.”
His warning comes as parts of the state are preparing for up to 12 inches of snow this weekend .
According to Schneiderman’s office, General Business Law prohibits “excessive increases in prices of essential good and services like food, water, gas, generators, batteries, flashlights, hotel lodging and transportation.”
Snow plowing, snow removal from roofs, shovels and other items also are included on this list when a storm arrives, according to the attorney general.
Anyone experiencing price gouging should report the business to the Attorney General’s Office at 800-771-7755.
Consumers should protect themselves when hiring contractors to perform storm-related services by considering the following:
- Shop around. Get at least three estimates from reputable contractors that include specific information about the materials and services to be provided for the job.
- Get it in writing. Insist on a written contract that includes the price and description of the work needed.
- Don't pay unreasonable advance sums. Negotiate a payment schedule tied to the completion of specific stages of the job. Never pay the full price up front.
- Get references. Check with the Better Business Bureau, banks, suppliers and neighbors. Always contact references provided to you.
- Know your rights. You have three days to cancel after signing a contract for home improvements. All cancellations must be in writing.
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