PARISIPPANY-TROY HILLS – Police responded to reports of a local retailer selling water and toilet paper at significantly inflated prices during the State of Emergency. During the investigation, Police determined that the store was selling 40- packs of Poland Spring and Kirkland bottled water for $11.99 each, and 4-packs of Angel Soft toilet paper for $8.99.
Kirkland, a proprietary brand sold exclusively by Coscto, currently sells the same 40-pack of bottled water on sale for $2.99 (suggesting a 400% price markup), while the Poland Spring 40-pack of water sells on their website on sale for $3.99 (a 300% price markup). Walmart currently sells the 4-pack of Angel Soft toilet paper for $3.98 (a 200% price markup).
“Price gouging during a time of health and financial crisis is unconscionable,” said Parsippany Mayor Michael Soriano. “At a time when so many in our community are pooling together resources to help those in need, it is particularly disgusting to jack up the prices of essentials for the sole purpose of massive profits. Price gouging must not continue, and believe me, it will be prosecuted.”
The incident report will be sent to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, which will review the complaint and conduct their own follow-up investigation to determine if the retailer has committed price-gouging during the State of Emergency. Ultimately if complaints are found to be credible, retailers committing price-gouging can be fined up to $10,000 upon their first offense, and $20,000 for subsequent events.
“I want to thank the Parsippany Police Department for their swift action investigating these complaints,” Mayor Soriano continued. “Now more than ever, we need people to speak up against those taking advantage of ordinary citizens. We will only get through this emergency by working together, caring for each other, and protecting each other.”
According to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, “This Law [Against Price Gouging] prohibits excessive price increases during a declared state of emergency, or for 30 days after the termination of the state of emergency. Excessive price increases are defined as price increases that are more than 10 percent higher than the price at which merchandise was sold during the normal course of business prior to the state of emergency.”
Anyone who thinks they’ve been the target of a scheme related to COVID-19 or who believes that a business has increased prices unfairly can file a complaint online at https://www.njconsumeraffairs.gov/COVID19/Pages/default.aspx or call (973) 504-6240