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State announces settlements with eight companies accused of post-Sandy price gouging

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Four hotel operators, three gas stations and a hardware store accused of unfairly increasing prices on goods and services in the wake of Hurricane Sandy have agreed to pay more than $280,000 as part of a settlement with the state.

Roughly $7,000 of that settlement agreement will serve as reimbursement to some 185 customers, according to the state attorney general's office. The rest of the money will go toward penalties, attorney fees and investigative costs.

The four hotels involved in the settlement include: Homewood Suites by Hilton, at 3819 Route 1, in Princeton; Extended Stay America Princeton, 3450 Brunswick Pike, Princeton; Howard Johnson Inn, 8029 Black Horse Pike, Pleasantville; and A-1 Motel, 616 West White Horse Pike, in the Cologne section of Galloway.

The gas stations involved in the settlement include: Exxon, located at 555 Riverside Ave., in Lyndhurst; Sunoco, 89 Wilson Ave., Newark; and Lukoil, 253 McBride Ave., Paterson.

In addition, Village Hardware, at 223 Main St., in Hardwick, was accused of selling 5-gallon gas cans at inflated prices and has agreed to pay $20,000 as part of the settlement.

This most recent settlement brings the total assessed against companies that allegedly engaged in price gouging after Sandy to near $330,000. And the state's Division of Consumer Affairs expects more such settlements as investigations into the practice continue.

Reporter Mary Johnson is @mjohns422 on Twitter.

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