Comments filed in New York rulemaking process on price gouging enforcement

One comment consisted solely of the email subject line “Let the market be free.” It was not a view shared elsewhere in the comments.

In March of this year the New York Attorney General’s office initiated an effort to improve the state’s price gouging law enforcement practices. The “Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” explained the intentions behind the state’s price gouging law and suggested experiences over the last two years indicate a need to refine the rules. (See an earlier post on the subject here: Anti-price gouging laws get rulemaking process in New York. The NY AG’s press release has more information.)

The rulemaking process is being overseen by the NY AG’s Senior Counsel for Economic Justice Zephyr Teachout, a former candidate for NY AG and a law professor at Fordham before becoming appointed to the AG’s office this past January. In October 2021, Ms. Teachout’s article on antitrust policy, “Why Judges Let Monopolists Off the Hook,” was published in The Atlantic. That article, along with the text of the ANPRM itself, may provide some insight into the direction the NY AG’s office wants to take New York’s price gouging enforcement activity.

Comments on the ANPRM were due in late April. These comments have been posted on the NY AG’s website in a single 252-page document. In all about 65 separate comments were filed. The vast majority of the comments were either specific price gouging complaints–gasoline prices and new cars were common targets, but Chinese restaurants and the Dollar Store also drew remarks–or generic remarks urging the AG onwards in her fight.

A dozen comments were more general and in-depth comments, with half from the political left and another half dozen from industry. For your reading convenience, I have extracted these 12 comments from the AG’s document and posted them here. Just 64 pages!

A formal “Notice of Proposed Rulemaking” is expected to come sometime in the next several months. If you, like the lone commenter quoted above, would like the NY AG’s office to “let the market be free,” you may want to get involved at the next step in the proceeding.