Monday, December 29, 2014

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NY1 For You: Some Hotels Upping Rates For Those Stranded By Sandy

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TWC News: NY1 For You: Some Hotels Upping Rates For Those Stranded By Sandy
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Destruction from Hurricane Sandy stranded thousands of visitors to the city. Without a way home, some say their hotels are taking advantage of the situation. NY1's Susan Jhun has the story.

Some visitors, such as Dorothy Parker and Pamela Phillips from Texas, have said some hotels are making the situation created by Hurricane Sandy so much worse by trying to charge prospective guests double the regular rate.

"We had to stay," Parker said. "We had no where to go."

"You [are] going to put us out on the street because we're not going to allow you to double our room rate? And I thought, 'shame on you.'"

The rate at their midtown hotel had been increased from $250 to almost $500 a night. The women, who were able to keep their original rate after threatening to contact city officials, said it was clearly a case of profiting from people's vulnerability.

"She really had no reason except that it was their policy and the rates had gone up," Phillips said.

But Parker and Phillips are not alone. NY1 has heard from other New Yorkers who say they've experienced price gouging at hotels throughout the city.

In a statement, Hotel Association of NYC President and CEO Joseph E. Spinnato President said, "The safety and comfort of our guests is the top priority of our member hotels, especially during emergency situations. In response to any inquiry regarding reports of price gouging, the Hotel Association of NYC and its members absolutely reject and condemn the practice of price gouging under any circumstances."

Right before Hurricane Sandy hit, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman warned New Yorkers that state law prohibits price gouging during natural disasters.

The City Department of Consumer Affairs said it wants anyone who has experienced price gouging by hotels in the aftermath of Sandy to file a complaint by calling 311.

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