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Tree removal company gouged customers after storm: attorney general

Thursday, December 13, 2012
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— A tree removal company jacked up its prices by thousands of dollars in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene last year, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.

His office sued American Tree Company of Lake George on Thursday on allegations of price gouging.

“American Tree engaged in a breathtaking scheme to price gouge innocent New Yorkers out of thousands of dollars,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “The tactics used, and the excessive amounts charged, by this company during a time of crisis in the community shocks the conscience. Whether it is Tropical Storm Irene or Hurricane Sandy, our office has zero tolerance for price gouging and we are fully committed to enforcing the law.”

He said the company had generally charged no more than $4,000 per tree before the emergency.

But after Irene, the company charged $10,000 per tree, as well as adding on undisclosed $1,500 “emergency service call” and $1,000 “after hours” fees, Schneiderman said.

The company did not immediately respond to a call seeking comment.

Schneiderman urged American Tree customers to call his office if they think they were gouged after Irene.

The Attorney General’s office can be reached at 1-800-771-7755 or www.ag.ny.gov.

 
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