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(NJ.com)   Can't pay the "emergency pricing" surcharge to have you home generator repaired during a government declared state of emergency? No problem, the repairman will waive the charge...and by waive they mean they'll pull out the new part and leave   (nj.com) divider line 209
    More: Dumbass, authors, waivers, pricing, emergency pricing  
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13486 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 Nov 2012 at 8:12 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-11 08:15:24 PM
If you can't pay, I'll bet there is a guy down the road who needs the same part (which is probably is short supply) that can pay. Taking things that you can't afford from other people that need it is called stealing.
 
2012-11-11 08:18:38 PM

RogermcAllen: Taking things that you can't afford from other people that need own it is called stealing.


Small change, but it makes all the difference in the world. Need is 100% irrelevant. Ownership is what matters.
 
2012-11-11 08:19:08 PM

RogermcAllen: If you can't pay, I'll bet there is a guy down the road who needs the same part (which is probably is short supply) that can pay. Taking things that you can't afford from other people that need it is called stealing.


And posting stupid stuff just to get responses is called trolling.
 
2012-11-11 08:19:29 PM
Those funny looking New Jersey women think they are entitled.
 
2012-11-11 08:19:33 PM
...and?
 
2012-11-11 08:22:12 PM
"If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven
 
2012-11-11 08:22:27 PM
Depends on the situation.

If you've got a part or service that you're pretty sure a) everyone desperately needs and b) will never ever need again once the crisis passes, then by all means, charge whatever you can get for it. You're going to need the money, because once the crisis is over, everyone will remember how you acted, and they're not going to use your business or service ever again.

However, if your business or service is local, or something that people are going to be using regularly after the crisis is over, you probably will want to moderate your prices. People will remember how they've been treated, and you may want the repeat work later on.
 
2012-11-11 08:22:39 PM

RogermcAllen: If you can't pay, I'll bet there is a guy down the road who needs the same part (which is probably is short supply) that can pay. Taking things that you can't afford from other people that need it is called stealing.



Wearing your thinking cap tonight I see.

silverclaygifts.com
 
2012-11-11 08:22:40 PM
Pay it on video. Ask for it back later.

Blackmail isn't just in office. Ask for the whole price back later.
 
2012-11-11 08:22:55 PM
Why would a thief have a banana over his head?
 
2012-11-11 08:24:22 PM
Critics say the rule is unfair to businesses, and it's contrary to market forces and the law of supply and demand.

Of course it is contrary to supply and demand. Emergency situations are recognized as reducing supply and substantially increasing demand while placing consumers in a position where health is threatened and therefore money becomes less important. Price gouging laws recognize and seek to prevent this.
 
2012-11-11 08:25:27 PM
As someone that used to do service plumbing I know that if I installed a part and the customer couldn't pay it was illegal for me to remove it.
 
2012-11-11 08:27:15 PM

ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven


Way ahead of me. Saw that and just....eh....what? What the frak is this guy talking about?
 
2012-11-11 08:27:43 PM
i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.
 
2012-11-11 08:28:32 PM
YAY CAPITALISM!
 
2012-11-11 08:30:44 PM

titwrench: As someone that used to do service plumbing I know that if I installed a part and the customer couldn't pay it was illegal for me to remove it.


They said exactly that at the bottom of the article. Once it's installed, the company can't just remove it.
 
2012-11-11 08:32:37 PM
FTFA:
"If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy at the College of New Jersey.

Translation: "I am suffering from cranio-rectal impaction, and I'm enjoying it."

/Don't quit your day job, J. Stacey.
//Because people are going to hoard generator parts.
 
2012-11-11 08:33:10 PM
Maybe a few days before a hurricane is the time to check whether your generator is working.
 
2012-11-11 08:33:21 PM
Obama is to blame for this. I just know it.
 
2012-11-11 08:33:56 PM
I agree with the law but allowing for a 20% markup would seem to be more in line at least on the labor. these folks are coming out in horrible conditions, don't the police and other union jobs get special pay for these types of emergencies?
 
2012-11-11 08:36:11 PM
Once it's installed, the generator company can't remove it. That's what mechanics liens are for. You won't be able to sell your house until you resolve the issue, but it keeps someone from 'stealing' the part back.
 
2012-11-11 08:36:18 PM

Waldo Pepper: I agree with the law but allowing for a 20% markup would seem to be more in line at least on the labor.


10% is the allowed increase over net cost which I'll venture to say includes hazard, overtime, etc., pay.
 
2012-11-11 08:40:28 PM
I read the article, and most of the comments on their forums. Sounds like the client was a dirtbag.

We have a service business. I've learned to verbally give rates over the phone and get their OK, before we roll a truck. If the new client seems hesitant but moves ahead, we take a rate sheet, which has their address and a spot to sign. If they don't sign; we walk. It's worth losing the time to/from then to get caught up in BS later on down the road.

Sounds like this guy tried to weasel out of his bill - again.
 
2012-11-11 08:41:28 PM
When Sandy knocked out power at Michael and Elizabeth Yamashiata's Chester home, the couple needed service to get their generator up and running.

i wonder to what extent the breakdown of modern civilization can be correlated with the misuse of the word 'need'.
 
2012-11-11 08:42:18 PM
What type of customer doesn't get an idea of pricing beforehand? What shady "professional" doesn't offer one without being asked beforehand?

I am assuming, of course, that the customer was all sorts of surprised to find out the price after the work was done.
 
2012-11-11 08:43:47 PM
I would follow the law, but the law should be changed. Don't buy products and services from people you don't like. I wouldn't compromise my ideals just because of a storm.
 
2012-11-11 08:46:11 PM

Vangor: Waldo Pepper: I agree with the law but allowing for a 20% markup would seem to be more in line at least on the labor.

10% is the allowed increase over net cost which I'll venture to say includes hazard, overtime, etc., pay.


what is net cost on labor?
 
2012-11-11 08:47:05 PM
one should expect a different price level for scheduled service as opposed to emergency service.
 
2012-11-11 08:47:57 PM
So rare for me to side with biz on issues like this, but after reading the article, the clients here sound like shiatbirds. I'm glad they removed the part. They didn't even charge the 10% over they were allowed with Sandy, just 'emergency' rates, which they clearly have listed AND INFORMED THE CLIENTS OF BEFOREHAND.

Don't think they're gonna get much local sympathy if they sue either. Not when there were farkers charging thousands to remove trees.
 
2012-11-11 08:48:01 PM

Satanic_Hamster: RogermcAllen: If you can't pay, I'll bet there is a guy down the road who needs the same part (which is probably is short supply) that can pay. Taking things that you can't afford from other people that need it is called stealing.

And posting stupid stuff just to get responses is called trolling.


crab66: RogermcAllen: If you can't pay, I'll bet there is a guy down the road who needs the same part (which is probably is short supply) that can pay. Taking things that you can't afford from other people that need it is called stealing.


Wearing your thinking cap tonight I see.

[silverclaygifts.com image 300x200]


I'm not trying to troll, maybe I am just not explaining things well.

Situation 1: A man steals a loaf of bread from a fully stocked bakery to feed his family.
Situation 2: A man steals a bakers last loaf of bread while hungry customers wait in line to purchase that last loaf.

I think most people can agree the first guy is stealing, but it isn't really that bad in the scheme of things.
The second guy is stealing, but on top of that he is a dick for taking something that other law abiding customers need to feed their families.

If the part was in short supply, he is a thief (special order leads me to think it was in short supply, labor was definitely in short supply).
If the part was off the shelf and the repairman could have been helping other customers instead of removing the part, then the repairman is a dick.
 
2012-11-11 08:51:12 PM

ZzeusS: I read the article, and most of the comments on their forums. Sounds like the client was a dirtbag.

We have a service business. I've learned to verbally give rates over the phone and get their OK, before we roll a truck. If the new client seems hesitant but moves ahead, we take a rate sheet, which has their address and a spot to sign. If they don't sign; we walk. It's worth losing the time to/from then to get caught up in BS later on down the road.

Sounds like this guy tried to weasel out of his bill - again.


Maybe they should have declined to service the generator rather than try to gouge them.
 
2012-11-11 08:52:10 PM

Waldo Pepper: what is net cost on labor?


Would be the labor itself. In this instance, there is a part and labor
 
2012-11-11 08:52:23 PM

EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.


Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.
 
2012-11-11 08:53:09 PM

ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven


Short answer: The law of supply and demand doesn't get suspended when a product is hard to find, and artificially keeping prices low removes a major incentive for people outside a disaster area to go to extra trouble to bring in supplies--thus gas and similar shortages.
 
2012-11-11 08:54:39 PM
Shouldn't they be allowed to set a higher price, that way the people and businesses that need immediate electricity be able to jump to the head of the line?

Wouldn't that give incentive to electricians outside of the area to temporarily work in NYC?

Why is the free market evil?
 
2012-11-11 08:54:58 PM
happilyamerican.com
You have to remember to negotiate. Especially if its a emergency and your families life is on the line, not just comfort. If your life truly hangs in the balance and its not just a matter of irritation, then you can always find a way to negotiate the price and find something the person with what you need really holds valuable.
 
2012-11-11 08:55:29 PM
"See this baseball bat in my hand? Is that part as expensive as the dental care you will need if I forcibly remove all the teeth from your head? Yeah, I didn't think so."
 
2012-11-11 08:56:13 PM

chrylis: ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven

Short answer: The law of supply and demand doesn't get suspended when a product is hard to find, and artificially keeping prices low removes a major incentive for people outside a disaster area to go to extra trouble to bring in supplies--thus gas and similar shortages.


Which, of course, ignores basic human decency of not raising your prices just because there's a disaster on and gouging people.
 
2012-11-11 08:57:05 PM

Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.


Three days later?
The customer accepted the bill under protest, and the company hit them with yet another bill for the service they'd billed before and failed to complete. Then they yanked the part out of a working generator? That's a suing. With damages.
 
2012-11-11 08:58:18 PM
I don't understand why they're treating electricity like water, food, or shelter. I bet there's at least 25 homes within a square mile of them without electricity. This was a generator. A luxury item. It's like comparing sleeping on the floor to sleeping on a mattress. Most people don't have generators. I don't know anyone in this neighborhood who has one. You can't say that taking away the mattress is basically sending them back to the stone age. Same goes for electricity. All their neighbors probably think they're a bunch of assholes for crying about having to eat off glassware instead of fine china while they eat off paper plates. It's just electricity, people. My power's been knocked out for 3 weeks. It sucks. Every try keeping a 7 year old non-verbal autistic kid happy for 3 weeks without electronics? Not cool, man. But, it's still not a necessity. If you're not a moron, it really is just a luxury that's pretty easy to live without for a bit. Just takes some creativity.
 
2012-11-11 08:59:36 PM
TL;DR:

Jeffrey Chiesa is a Commie.
 
2012-11-11 08:59:38 PM
Every year everyone has to run out and buy up all the snow shovels, generators etc. Where in the hell do all those end up that you can't use them the next year? Same with boots, gloves and driveway salt.
In the spring there is not a huge buy out of leaf blowers, shovels and lawn mowers.
We put the generator in working order in the garage when winter is over so we are prepared.
 
2012-11-11 09:02:57 PM

JosephFinn: chrylis: ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven

Short answer: The law of supply and demand doesn't get suspended when a product is hard to find, and artificially keeping prices low removes a major incentive for people outside a disaster area to go to extra trouble to bring in supplies--thus gas and similar shortages.

Which, of course, ignores basic human decency of not raising your prices just because there's a disaster on and gouging people.


The problem is that people are assholes and don't think about the needs of others.

Cheap gas = people will waste it driving around to look at the destruction.
Expensive gas = people will only use gas where they need it.

They had a guy in NPR that was riding the free buses around to city just to rubberneck.
 
2012-11-11 09:03:39 PM
Why didn't they try it a few days before the storm came?
Mine, tests itself once a week.
 
2012-11-11 09:03:56 PM
After Superstorm Ivan in 2004, a local tire company in Pensacola fixed all flats for a week after the storm that were caused by nails, tacks, etc...for free. Even if you bought your tires somewhere else.

They have opened another branch since that time and are going strong at their other stores.
 
2012-11-11 09:07:59 PM

get real: Every year everyone has to run out and buy up all the snow shovels, generators etc. Where in the hell do all those end up that you can't use them the next year? Same with boots, gloves and driveway salt.
In the spring there is not a huge buy out of leaf blowers, shovels and lawn mowers.
We put the generator in working order in the garage when winter is over so we are prepared.


Well, normal people do this stuff. When I lived up in Tahoe, I usually had my emergency supplies in the trunk of my car at least by November. Down here, when I lived in places that didn't have A/C, I bought my floor fans in March or April.

But how many people are that smart? Almost none.
 
2012-11-11 09:07:59 PM

enry: ZzeusS: I read the article, and most of the comments on their forums. Sounds like the client was a dirtbag.

We have a service business. I've learned to verbally give rates over the phone and get their OK, before we roll a truck. If the new client seems hesitant but moves ahead, we take a rate sheet, which has their address and a spot to sign. If they don't sign; we walk. It's worth losing the time to/from then to get caught up in BS later on down the road.

Sounds like this guy tried to weasel out of his bill - again.

Maybe they should have declined to service the generator rather than try to gouge them.



Why? The client gave the OK to the work and decided to not pay, after. I'm not in the habit of declining paying jobs, either. Now, in this case, with a client that apparently was slow pay no pay, in an emergency situation, I would have asked for cash, or cash up front. Or Credit Card. No gouging, of course, but skin in the game.
 
2012-11-11 09:10:49 PM

demaL-demaL-yeH: Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.

Three days later?
The customer accepted the bill under protest, and the company hit them with yet another bill for the service they'd billed before and failed to complete. Then they yanked the part out of a working generator? That's a suing. With damages.



Yeah. That's the sticker. Situation like that, I would walk away and try to collect later. That's like pulling a part from a car. Actually.. I wonder what the rules on that are. Can you let the client take their car?
 
2012-11-11 09:11:51 PM
The issue with "price gouging" laws is that it does reduce demand and does hurt supply.

If a generator costs $400 and there is great need for them, if I can only sell them for $440 what is the incentive to make arrangements, extend credit, pay extra trucking etc to bring these into a disaster area. Same with gas and other supplies. What is my incentive to risk my trucks and cargo if there is no upside for my business?

Yes charging more for gas than national average is bad, but that would make more folks want to move heaven and earth to get gas into a location, more supply for the demand, quickly this would level out. Same for work crews to fix things.

Let the market determine the price. Keeping it low removes any incentive by the private sector to do anything until all is well and good.

No reward - no risk
 
2012-11-11 09:12:10 PM

orclover: [happilyamerican.com image 500x331]
You have to remember to negotiate. Especially if its a emergency and your families life is on the line, not just comfort. If your life truly hangs in the balance and its not just a matter of irritation, then you can always find a way to negotiate the price and find something the person with what you need really holds valuable.


ITG or Troll?
 
2012-11-11 09:12:47 PM

titwrench: As someone that used to do service plumbing I know that if I installed a part and the customer couldn't pay it was illegal for me to remove it.


No shiat?
 
2012-11-11 09:13:39 PM
We lost our cars in Sandy (among other things). Called the day the storm subsided to get a rental, but by then then waiting list was already gigantic. They were bringing in cars from as far away as Indiana to meet demand.

Hey, no sweat. That wasn't surprising. We had our reservation numbers via our auto insurance, and Enterprise said they'd call when we came up on the list. I figured no worries, we'll be patient. A lot of people are in the same boat. Times like that are no time to be an impatient dick.

A week later and a call or two later to check on our status, still no call from them. We get through to them the week after the storm and ask if we've got a car lined up yet. Oops, they said, they accidentally skipped us on the list. Now we're #206 or so on the list since they had to re-add us.

But, they say, "Tell you what, come down now. We have a car that came in this morning you can take." Great!

We get there thinking we have the car, but it turns out the rate is more than our insurance covers because it was a mid-size and we're covered for compacts. It's only $3 a day more, but it's still more and we're buried under cleanup costs, especially since both our jobs were wiped out for at least two weeks each, so at first we balk. They say they have no idea when a car for us will come in that fits what our insurance is covering. Could be a day, could be a week.

So we ask, politely, "We've already been passed over on this waiting list already, our reservation calls for a compact, can you just waive the extra money and call us as soon as a smaller model comes in? We'll come right in and switch them."

No, they said, because they can call anyone on their list right now and they'd be happy to pay the extra to have the car. If we won't pay, someone else will.

Which is true. They were under absolutely no obligation to waive the cost above what our insurance would cover, and I didn't argue or begrudge them that. They did not owe us that, even if they did screw up their reservation list.

Just thought it was kind of shiatty customer service is all.
 
2012-11-11 09:14:19 PM
novelinks.org

Ain't no gouging like Oedipal gouging, 'cause Oedipal gouging is permanent.
 
2012-11-11 09:14:25 PM
It also raises the question of what does FEMA do with all the generators and emergency supplies after a disaster. I have to assume there is a warehouse full of supplies that are really needed and should have been brought in before the storm.
 
2012-11-11 09:15:27 PM

KrispyKritter: one should expect a different price level for scheduled service as opposed to emergency service.


Agree , thats how it works . These qualified repairmen are working their asses off as it is . They would have to work even harder if they worked for every "nickle and dimer " in town . I'm sure they would rather be at home with their family's than to deal with these people .


/HVAC repairman
// Have no problem sitting around drinking beer and watching cartoons in my underwear than deal with cheapskates .
 
2012-11-11 09:15:32 PM
During the aftermath of a storm is a great time to hide a dead body...

/just sayin
 
2012-11-11 09:15:33 PM
It's more than "invasive," consumer law attorney Ronald LeVine said. He said once the part was installed, it became the property of the owner, and removal of the part is a "clear Consumer Fraud Act violation," he said.

It seems to me it becomes the conusmer's property after it's been paid for.
 
2012-11-11 09:15:45 PM
Emergency services cost more and the responding worker is over tired. He has no need for bullsh*t and what gets him/her through the ordeal is knowing that he/she will be compensated. You call them out and then can't pay what's expected? F*ck you for wasting time.
 
2012-11-11 09:17:45 PM

get real: It also raises the question of what does FEMA do with all the generators and emergency supplies after a disaster. I have to assume there is a warehouse full of supplies that are really needed and should have been brought in before the storm.


Why? Bringing them in before the storm risks them getting *Damaged by the storm*. If they did that, you've be biatching that FEMA wasn't careful and let equipment get wrecked by teh very storm they sought to help people from! "Didn't they know there was going to be a hurricane and flooding?! How could they have been so careless to put necessary supplies right in the path of destruction!"
 
2012-11-11 09:17:50 PM

ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven


It's the reverso-world a lot of Conservatives are living in these day. Any criticism of their politics (or economic policy or, well, anything), gets bounced back onto whatever they see as their opponents (Democrats or liberals, for example). I call it the "rubber-and-glue strategy."
 
2012-11-11 09:17:59 PM

titwrench: As someone that used to do service plumbing I know that if I installed a part and the customer couldn't pay it was illegal for me to remove it.


Right. Same as shutting off heat and water to a non-paying renter. You gotta go to court for relief.
 
2012-11-11 09:18:39 PM
Plus, during a large scale emergency you're looking at a ton of OT for the workers. As others have said, he agreed to the bill then decided afterwards to try and weasle out of some of it. Not often a company charging people more in a disaster area seems to be in the right, but this appears to be one of those times.

/Removing the part though? Not so much
 
2012-11-11 09:18:45 PM

orclover: [happilyamerican.com image 500x331]
You have to remember to negotiate. Especially if its a emergency and your families life is on the line, not just comfort. If your life truly hangs in the balance and its not just a matter of irritation, then you can always find a way to negotiate the price and find something the person with what you need really holds valuable.


I agree!

www.gunpundit.com
 
2012-11-11 09:20:50 PM

ZzeusS: enry: ZzeusS: I read the article, and most of the comments on their forums. Sounds like the client was a dirtbag.

We have a service business. I've learned to verbally give rates over the phone and get their OK, before we roll a truck. If the new client seems hesitant but moves ahead, we take a rate sheet, which has their address and a spot to sign. If they don't sign; we walk. It's worth losing the time to/from then to get caught up in BS later on down the road.

Sounds like this guy tried to weasel out of his bill - again.

Maybe they should have declined to service the generator rather than try to gouge them.


Why? The client gave the OK to the work and decided to not pay, after. I'm not in the habit of declining paying jobs, either. Now, in this case, with a client that apparently was slow pay no pay, in an emergency situation, I would have asked for cash, or cash up front. Or Credit Card. No gouging, of course, but skin in the game.


Yeah, but they were already a problem customer. If I had two customers in front of me needing service and I knew one would pay the bill I gave him and the other might take a while, the only reason I'd take the one that paid later would be if it was worth it.

Given the comments on the site, they couldn't have been hurting for customers, so it's not like they were sitting around with nothing to do. So at some point a decision like this had to be made.
 
2012-11-11 09:21:53 PM

JPSimonetti: I don't understand why they're treating electricity like water, food, or shelter.


Well, electricity may well impact your water and shelter, so while I wouldn't call it essential it can certainly make a big difference in some cases.

If you're on well water and can't run your pump, you no longer have water outside of bottled water. Some friends are still dealing with that. We have city, so thankfully that wasn't an issue. All our water was cold (electric hot water heater), but at least we had running water.

In our case, the lack of electricity meant we had no heat, which meant for bitter nights, especially when the snow came. You can always pile on more blankets, but we had an elderly family member with us who had to flee her house (it was destroyed), so that cold was a concern.

You can certainly make do without it -- we did our nearly two weeks and made do -- but if you have the means to give yourself a supply I don't see why you wouldn't do it.
 
2012-11-11 09:24:20 PM

Vangor: Of course it is contrary to supply and demand. Emergency situations are recognized as reducing supply and substantially increasing demand while placing consumers in a position where health is threatened and therefore money becomes less important. Price gouging laws recognize and seek to prevent this.


JosephFinn: Which, of course, ignores basic human decency of not raising your prices just because there's a disaster on and gouging people.



THIS.

That "emergency surcharge" is why good states like New Jersey have the anti-gouging laws on their books.


Gyrfalcon: If you've got a part or service that you're pretty sure a) everyone desperately needs and b) will never ever need again once the crisis passes, then by all means, charge whatever you can get for it. You're going to need the money, because once the crisis is over, everyone will remember how you acted, and they're not going to use your business or service ever again.


Didn't work so well for the guy that tried it in Georgia. He ended up taking a huge net loss for his principled stand for the market. If the anti-gouging laws existed there, he would still be in business. 

/serious or not, gouging during a disaster is wrong.
 
2012-11-11 09:26:56 PM
www.democraticags.org

This is Roy Cooper. He is attorney general of NC. He, like his predecessors, has a lot of experience preventing this kind of thing. Roy loves putting gougers in jail.
 
2012-11-11 09:27:48 PM
I'm fairly certain that if Pink Floyd pulled into town the price of acid will increase.
 
2012-11-11 09:29:12 PM
On the one hand, I like free things. On the other hand, I knew there would be money or a strong angry man involved.
 
2012-11-11 09:31:18 PM
Taking advantage of people against their will for personal gain is my definition of evil.

Nothing in the article suggests the repair company had any problems answering the increased demand, apart fromalleged "dangerous road conditions." Nothing suggests they had trouble meeting demand. Most businesses would be thrilled to be kept so busy. Where I live, auto body comapnies live for the winter, when demand goes through the roof. They don't suddenly charge "winter rates" just because more people have wrecks. They work longer hours, hire more employees, and cash in on increased business. There is increased demand, but that doesn't mean they have to gouge.

FTA: " "Our technicians understandably did not want to work with the dangerous road conditions. We offered them double time," Leckie said. "On Wednesday, we made a business decision to absorb all overtime, double time and travel time without passing it on to our customers." "

What they did pass onto their customers was an opportunistic, artificially inflated rate because they figured they could get away with it because people were desperate.

FTA: "Former Consumer Affairs chief Levin said he found it interesting that the company only charged the emergency prices on Tuesday, while conditions and power outages remained a big problem throughout the week."

Before the part was even installed... FTA: "They were given a bill for more than $500, which reflected what the tech called "emergency pricing": $150 for the service call, plus $320 for labor, which accounted for a two-hour minimum."

[...]

"Three days later, two technicians installed the part, and the fix worked. The family was given a second bill: $160 for labor and $78 for the part."

Great. More than $700 for a $78 part, and undoubetedly far less labor and time than they billed for. In violation of state law. During a disaster. Nothing evil about that.
 
2012-11-11 09:32:13 PM

JPSimonetti: I don't understand why they're treating electricity like water, food, or shelter. I bet there's at least 25 homes within a square mile of them without electricity. This was a generator. A luxury item. It's like comparing sleeping on the floor to sleeping on a mattress. Most people don't have generators. I don't know anyone in this neighborhood who has one. You can't say that taking away the mattress is basically sending them back to the stone age. Same goes for electricity. All their neighbors probably think they're a bunch of assholes for crying about having to eat off glassware instead of fine china while they eat off paper plates. It's just electricity, people. My power's been knocked out for 3 weeks. It sucks. Every try keeping a 7 year old non-verbal autistic kid happy for 3 weeks without electronics? Not cool, man. But, it's still not a necessity. If you're not a moron, it really is just a luxury that's pretty easy to live without for a bit. Just takes some creativity.


Electricity is not a "luxury" in any developed country. The fact that lots of other people in the neighborhood don't have it is irrelevant, there was a hurricane. There's a reason they call it a state of emergency, not a state of normalcy.
 
2012-11-11 09:33:06 PM

demaL-demaL-yeH: Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.

Three days later?
The customer accepted the bill under protest, and the company hit them with yet another bill for the service they'd billed before and failed to complete. Then they yanked the part out of a working generator? That's a suing. With damages.


One of us is misreading the article, I think.

They came out in the night, in dangerous conditions, at rates LISTED BY THEM AT THEIR BIZ AND ON THEIR SITE. These rates have been in effect for years. The clients were informed of the rates BEFORE they came out (per the biz, client claims no...but really...they're going to go out at night in the storm, in dangerous farking weather without knowing the homeowner is even there or will accept the work? Give me a farking break. I don't buy it personally, I believe the biz here). They accepted the bill 'under protest' and agreed to have the work done.

They didn't refuse the work, accepting the emergency bill for diagnostic in the middle of a farking storm at night, and refusing repairs. They didn't refuse to have the part ordered.

They simply refused to pay. And the biz owner, who wasn't gouging by definition, and wasn't gouging in any sense IMHO, removed the part the owners refused to pay for and they had just installed.

NOW, that might be illegal. I don't know. But that doesn't even seem unreasonable to me. They've had problems with these asshats before with their bills. They're refusing to pay. It's an utter pain in the ass for any biz to take this shiat to small claims court, which is where they end up. They lose even more time and money. So I sympathize with the biz saying it's just easier to say 'fine fark it' and take back their part.

That may not be allowed though, but honestly it doesn't even seem unreasonable to me, if they're only removing the part they provided and wasn't paid for. But doesn't matter if I think that's reasonable if it's illegal. That could have been avoided if they'd showed up and demanded the money BEFORE installing the part based on this guy's asshattery. But that might not be legal either, I don't know.

My entire sympathy in this case is surprisingly with the biz. Seems like the customers in this case were not just in the wrong, but really suck.
 
2012-11-11 09:34:19 PM

shoegaze99: They did not owe us that, even if they did screw up their reservation list.


Anyone can take a reservation. I can take reservations all day. It's keeping the reservation that counts.
 
2012-11-11 09:37:26 PM

itsfullofstars: This is Roy Cooper. He is attorney general of NC. He, like his predecessors, has a lot of experience preventing this kind of thing. Roy loves putting gougers in jail.


Any proof of that state's strong anti-gouging laws being used?
 
2012-11-11 09:37:36 PM
Its funny that all of the Union supporters who want high paying middle class jobs get really, really angry when they are faced with high prices for emergency work done on their generator.

Also, if this was company policy from BEFORE the storm, it kinda hurts the whole "price-gouging" nonsense.
 
2012-11-11 09:45:19 PM

Cobataiwan: Its funny that all of the Union supporters who want high paying middle class jobs get really, really angry when they are faced with high prices for emergency work done on their generator.


Gouging is gouging, doesn't matter who is doing it.
 
2012-11-11 09:46:52 PM
It's the time of year for my favorite Craigslist rant! You can buy a turkey fryer or you can suck my dick! (NSFW). Not completely applicable here, but close.
 
2012-11-11 09:48:57 PM
Doesn't FEMA reimburse the cost of a generator?
 
2012-11-11 09:50:13 PM
Missing from this discussion is this, FTA: "Elizabeth Yamashiata left a message at the store at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30, and while she said no one returned the call, a technician arrived two hours later. In 20 minutes the technician determined a new part would have to be ordered.

They were given a bill for more than $500, which reflected what the tech called "emergency pricing": $150 for the service call, plus $320 for labor, which accounted for a two-hour minimum."

1/3 of an hour = 2 hours. Which they didn't have the opportunity to discuss, because the call wasn't returned. How is that not gouging?

And, really? $160 an hour? A lot of doctors don't charge that. Car mechanics don't charge that. Most mechanics will diagnose a problem for free, or a nominal charge, expecting they'll get the business for the repair. Handing someone a bill for more than $500, just for showing up and taking 20 minutes to find the problem is outrageous. To slap another $138 on top of that for the actual part and labor is beyond the pale. Where I live, any business that operated like that would last exactly as long as it took for word to get out about them.
 
2012-11-11 09:51:42 PM

JosephFinn: chrylis: ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven

Short answer: The law of supply and demand doesn't get suspended when a product is hard to find, and artificially keeping prices low removes a major incentive for people outside a disaster area to go to extra trouble to bring in supplies--thus gas and similar shortages.

Which, of course, ignores basic human decency of not raising your prices just because there's a disaster on and gouging people.


What makes you think that was happening? What exactly are you imagining here? It's not like there's a warehouse of robotic repairmen, owned by an evil mustachioed millionaire, who get activated when thousands of people try to start up their generators for the first time in months or years and discover that they won't work. Prices signal scarcity. The number of generator repairmen is what the market will support in an ordinary, non-emergency situation. Because of the storm, these guys have undoubtedly been working very long hours in unpleasant conditions to get people's stuff working. I think it's only "fair" that they get to "gouge" a little bit for their trouble. And when the dumbass state government enacts anti-gouging laws because people like you who apparently understand nothing about economics demand them, it guarantees that the number of repairmen in the area isn't going to increase to alleviate the temporary shortage.
 
2012-11-11 09:52:49 PM

AssAsInAssassin: Most businesses would be thrilled to be kept so busy. Where I live, auto body comapnies live for the winter, when demand goes through the roof. They don't suddenly charge "winter rates" just because more people have wrecks. They work longer hours, hire more employees, and cash in on increased business. There is increased demand, but that doesn't mean they have to gouge.


Except that in cases like this, they don't have the ability to hire more employees, nor would they want to given that the relatively brief amount of time when their service is going to peak. Instead, the ask their employees to work longer hours which, of course, requires pay them overtime. Add on to that the hazardous conditions and the business has decided that their emergency rates will be double the normal rates. That's not gouging, especially when the rates were established well before the storm. I'm sure the business was happy for the increased demand, but not if that demand means taking a loss on their labor costs.

FTA: " "Our technicians understandably did not want to work with the dangerous road conditions. We offered them double time," Leckie said. "On Wednesday, we made a business decision to absorb all overtime, double time and travel time without passing it on to our customers." "

What they did pass onto their customers was an opportunistic, artificially inflated rate because they figured they could get away with it because people were desperate.


Did you even read what you pasted? They had to pay their workers extra in order to get them to work in the dangerous conditions. They passed that cost along to the customer because otherwise they would lose money, which means they wouldn't offer any emergency services and nobody would get help.

FTA: "Former Consumer Affairs chief Levin said he found it interesting that the company only charged the emergency prices on Tuesday, while conditions and power outages remained a big problem throughout the week."

Before the part was even installed... FTA: "They were given a bill for more than $500, which reflected what the tech called "emergency pricing": $150 for the service call, plus $320 for labor, which accounted for a two-hour minimum."

[...]

"Three days later, two technicians installed the part, and the fix worked. The family was given a second bill: $160 for labor and $78 for the part."

Great. More than $700 for a $78 part, and undoubetedly far less labor and time than they billed for. In violation of state law. During a disaster. Nothing evil about that.


I can't speak to the actual labor or to the laws, but none of this sounds odd. Their policy is that they have a two-hour labor minimum. This policy is known well in advance and is not unreasonable for this type of service. Their labor rate is $80/hour, which is pretty standard and they double that for emergency calls. According to New Jersey law, it's only gouging if you raise the price higher than what you charged before the emergency was declared. This business didn't do that, hence, they didn't gouge.
 
2012-11-11 09:53:43 PM

AssAsInAssassin: Most businesses would be thrilled to be kept so busy.


We had a guy come in to install new insulation after the flooding. He had given me the best quote of all the people I called, and my conversation with him was good -- plus all estimates in writing up front, etc etc etc -- so I recommended him to my neighbors who needed the same work done. He got several calls from my block. As a way of saying thanks to me for referring people to him, he knocked another 10% off the price, which was already a few hundred lower than everyone else.

That's a good guy. He could have charged more considering how many people needed his services. Instead, he went the opposite way. I'll for sure be passing his name around some more.
 
2012-11-11 09:54:04 PM

JohnCarter: If a generator costs $400 and there is great need for them, if I can only sell them for $440 what is the incentive to make arrangements, extend credit, pay extra trucking etc to bring these into a disaster area.


What.

You're making more money per unit, and you're basically guaranteed to sell every unit you bring in. How is it NOT worth your extra effort to get the extra business?
 
2012-11-11 09:56:05 PM
They were given a bill for more than $500, which reflected what the tech called "emergency pricing": $150 for the service call, plus $320 for labor, which accounted for a two-hour minimum."
"Three days later, two technicians installed the part, and the fix worked. The family was given a second bill: $160 for labor and $78 for the part."


Why were they charged for a 2 hour minimum for the first service call but not for the second one?

Their normal rate is 80 bucks an hour, the first service call the technician was only there for 20 minutes but they got billed double-time for a 2 hour minimum = $320 for labor, for a 20 minute visit.

The second service call there were 2 technicians and they billed for 1 hour at 80 bucks an hour each = $160.

Why didn't they charge a 2 hour minimum the second time? I suppose because of the hurricane not only did they double their rates but they also instituted a 2 hour minimum. Seems a little over the top to me.
 
2012-11-11 09:56:08 PM

Lady Indica: They came out in the night, in dangerous conditions,


Are you certain I'm the one with reading comprehension problems?
FTA:
"Elizabeth Yamashiata left a message at the store at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30, and while she said no one returned the call, a technician arrived two hours later.
In 20 minutes the technician determined a new part would have to be ordered."


Noon, and they were billed for two hours for a service that wasn't completed.
FTFA:
"They were given a bill for more than $500, which reflected what the tech called "emergency pricing": $150 for the service call, plus $320 for labor, which accounted for a two-hour minimum."
Also:
Under normal conditions, emergency service rates apply nights and weekends, she said.

So it's Tuesday noon. They accepted the bill, but protested the "emergency pricing."

FTFA:
"My husband notified the technician that it was against the law to profiteer during an emergency and accepted the bill under protest," Elizabeth Yamashiata said.
Three days later, two technicians installed the part, and the fix worked. The family was given a second bill: $160 for labor and $78 for the part.


Billed twice for the same service. I'd be pissed, too. Then the technicians yanked the part out of a working generator.

Lady Indica: at rates LISTED BY THEM AT THEIR BIZ AND ON THEIR SITE.


That must be really easy to read when your electricity is out. Hell, you can't even read it when you have electricity and are accusing me of failure to comprehend TFA.

The Yamashiatas will win. And they'll deserve to win. And the company should go out of business, which it so richly deserves.
 
2012-11-11 09:56:18 PM

Lady Indica: demaL-demaL-yeH: Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.

Three days later?
The customer accepted the bill under protest, and the company hit them with yet another bill for the service they'd billed before and failed to complete. Then they yanked the part out of a working generator? That's a suing. With damages.

One of us is misreading the article, I think.

They came out in the night, in dangerous conditions, at rates LISTED BY THEM AT THEIR BIZ AND ON THEIR SITE. These rates have been in effect for years. The clients were informed of the rates BEFORE they came out (per the biz, client claims no...but really...they're going to go out at night in the storm, in dangerous farking weather without knowing the homeowner is even there or will accept the work? Give me a farking break. I don't buy it personally, I believe the biz here). They accepted the bill 'under protest' and agreed to have the work done.

They didn't refuse the work, accepting the emergency bill for diagnostic in the middle of a farking storm at night, and refusing repairs. They didn't refuse to have the part ordered.

They simply refused to pay. And the biz owner, who wasn't gouging by definition, and wasn't gouging in any sense IMHO, removed the part the owners refused to pay for and they had just installed.

NOW, that might be illegal. I don't know. But that doesn't even seem unreasonable to me. They've had problems with these asshats before with their bills. They're refusing to pay. It's an utter pain in the ass for any biz to take this shiat to small claims court, which is where they end up. They lose even more time and money. So I sympathize with the biz saying it's just easier to say 'fine fark it' and take back their part.

That may not be allowed though, but honestly it doesn't even seem unreasonable to me, if they're only removing the part they provided and wasn't paid for. But doesn't matter if I think that's reasonable if it's illegal. That could have been avoided if they'd showed up and demanded the money BEFORE installing the part based on this guy's asshattery. But that might not be legal either, I don't know.

My entire sympathy in this case is surprisingly with the biz. Seems like the customers in this case were not just in the wrong, but really suck.


Yes. Clearly one of us IS misreading the article. They called at 10AM and left a message. At noon with no warning someone showed up and started working. That's not a night rate. Its in broad farking daylight. $500 in labor for 20 minutes work and no repair? No, not gouging at all. *eye roll*
 
2012-11-11 09:57:13 PM

AssAsInAssassin: Great. More than $700 for a $78 part, and undoubetedly far less labor and time than they billed for. In violation of state law. During a disaster. Nothing evil about that.



Well hell, I guess next time Mr. Yamashiata could just fix the farking thing himself and avoid the evil altogether.
 
2012-11-11 09:57:41 PM

AssAsInAssassin: Missing from this discussion is this, FTA: "Elizabeth Yamashiata left a message at the store at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30, and while she said no one returned the call, a technician arrived two hours later. In 20 minutes the technician determined a new part would have to be ordered.

They were given a bill for more than $500, which reflected what the tech called "emergency pricing": $150 for the service call, plus $320 for labor, which accounted for a two-hour minimum."

1/3 of an hour = 2 hours. Which they didn't have the opportunity to discuss, because the call wasn't returned. How is that not gouging?

And, really? $160 an hour? A lot of doctors don't charge that. Car mechanics don't charge that. Most mechanics will diagnose a problem for free, or a nominal charge, expecting they'll get the business for the repair. Handing someone a bill for more than $500, just for showing up and taking 20 minutes to find the problem is outrageous. To slap another $138 on top of that for the actual part and labor is beyond the pale. Where I live, any business that operated like that would last exactly as long as it took for word to get out about them.


I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?
 
2012-11-11 09:57:57 PM
should have read the manual and ran it on a weekly/monthly basis.

fark em.
 
2012-11-11 09:59:07 PM

Lady Indica: Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.


AssAsInAssassin: Missing from this discussion is this, FTA: "Elizabeth Yamashiata left a message at the store at 10 a.m. on Oct. 30, and while she said no one returned the call, a technician arrived two hours later.


Dark of night at noon.
 
2012-11-11 09:59:22 PM

rugman11: According to New Jersey law, it's only gouging if you raise the price higher than what you charged before the emergency was declared. This business didn't do that, hence, they didn't gouge.


Maybe NJ needs laws against being huge douchebags. Of course, then they'd have to charge everyone...
 
2012-11-11 10:00:50 PM

Lady Indica: demaL-demaL-yeH: Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.

Three days later?
The customer accepted the bill under protest, and the company hit them with yet another bill for the service they'd billed before and failed to complete. Then they yanked the part out of a working generator? That's a suing. With damages.

One of us is misreading the article, I think.

They came out in the night, in dangerous conditions, at rates LISTED BY THEM AT THEIR BIZ AND ON THEIR SITE. These rates have been in effect for years. The clients were informed of the rates BEFORE they came out (per the biz, client claims no...but really...they're going to go out at night in the storm, in dangerous farking weather without knowing the homeowner is even there or will accept the work? Give me a farking break. I don't buy it personally, I believe the biz here). They accepted the bill 'under protest' and agreed to have the work done.

They didn't refuse the work, accepting the emergency bill for diagnostic in the middle of a farking storm at night, and refusing repairs. They didn't refuse to have the part ordered.

They simply refused to pay. And the biz owner, who wasn't gouging by definition, and wasn't gouging in any sense IMHO, removed the part the owners refused to pay for and they had just installed.

NOW, that might be illegal. I don't know. But that doesn't even seem unreasonable to me. They've had problems with these asshats before with their bills. They're refusing to pay. It's an utter pain in the ass for any biz to take this shiat to small claims court, which is where they ...


Actually if you read the article, the serviceman apparently came out in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. Not at night.

Apparently the company charges what they call an "emergency rate" for evenings and weekends as part of their normal business practice. Which is fine, because it is really an off hour surcharge that has nothing to do with a state of emergency. If it did it would be illegal. Apparently though they decided to start billing that surcharge during normal hours because of an actual state of emergency, and to me that looks like it would actually be illegal. They were not billing it because they are servicing the generator during their off hours. They were billing it as a way to gouge customers during an actual emergency.

Then they removed the part after it had already been installed, which apparently is absolutely illegal on top of being total dickery.
 
2012-11-11 10:01:24 PM

denbroc: After Superstorm Ivan in 2004, a local tire company in Pensacola fixed all flats for a week after the storm that were caused by nails, tacks, etc...for free. Even if you bought your tires somewhere else.

They have opened another branch since that time and are going strong at their other stores.


My experience has been that businesses doing this type of thing, going the extra mile and making life better for people in crisis mode, are remembered and thanked.

ElBarto79: JPSimonetti: I don't understand why they're treating electricity like water, food, or shelter. I bet there's at least 25 homes within a square mile of them without electricity. This was a generator. A luxury item. It's like comparing sleeping on the floor to sleeping on a mattress. Most people don't have generators. I don't know anyone in this neighborhood who has one. You can't say that taking away the mattress is basically sending them back to the stone age. Same goes for electricity. All their neighbors probably think they're a bunch of assholes for crying about having to eat off glassware instead of fine china while they eat off paper plates. It's just electricity, people. My power's been knocked out for 3 weeks. It sucks. Every try keeping a 7 year old non-verbal autistic kid happy for 3 weeks without electronics? Not cool, man. But, it's still not a necessity. If you're not a moron, it really is just a luxury that's pretty easy to live without for a bit. Just takes some creativity.

Electricity is not a "luxury" in any developed country. The fact that lots of other people in the neighborhood don't have it is irrelevant, there was a hurricane. There's a reason they call it a state of emergency, not a state of normalcy.


It farking well is a luxury. We don't have to have electricity to eat, sleep, and defecate. We need it for creature comforts and brain deadening. We've lived for millions of years without it. As someone who's been through 2 different Texas hurricanes (Rita and Katrina, living in the deep east texas pineywoods and Houston through both), I went 3+ weeks without electricity the second time, and 2 weeks the first. Life changes, it was stupidly hot and miserable, but I had (gasp) water and food so I lived.

Obvious exception for people who do require refrigeration services, for medication etc. Starbucks is a luxury too, fyi.
 
2012-11-11 10:02:01 PM
Hey, we all know New Yorkers and people from New Jersey man up and carry the rest of the US, they are strong.
 
2012-11-11 10:05:16 PM

corpselover: Apparently the company charges what they call an "emergency rate" for evenings and weekends as part of their normal business practice. Which is fine, because it is really an off hour surcharge that has nothing to do with a state of emergency. If it did it would be illegal. Apparently though they decided to start billing that surcharge during normal hours because of an actual state of emergency, and to me that looks like it would actually be illegal. They were not billing it because they are servicing the generator during their off hours. They were billing it as a way to gouge customers during an actual emergency.

Then they removed the part after it had already been installed, which apparently is absolutely illegal on top of being total dickery.


This^
 
2012-11-11 10:05:49 PM
Remember, this is Jersey.

Quite a few "local" business owners will gleefully screw over the locals as long as they can & then sell the business & retire to Florida.

Some will just dive into bankruptcy & come out with a new name & someone new answering the phone.

Unless it's a seasonal one, then it's screw everyone & then spend the winter in Florida collecting NJ unemployment.

And it also worked for Trump.
 
2012-11-11 10:06:01 PM

get real: I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?


Where I live, most small businesses offer free estimates. Even my local mechanic doesn't charge us to hook the car to the computer and give a quick diagnose (though in the case of mechanics, most do). Contractors and repairemen and the like, most do free estimates.
 
2012-11-11 10:06:48 PM

poot_rootbeer: JohnCarter: If a generator costs $400 and there is great need for them, if I can only sell them for $440 what is the incentive to make arrangements, extend credit, pay extra trucking etc to bring these into a disaster area.

What.

You're making more money per unit, and you're basically guaranteed to sell every unit you bring in. How is it NOT worth your extra effort to get the extra business?


The point is, that at only 10% extra, it's not worth it to rent a truck, purchase gas, take the risk of offering credit (since most people won't have $500 in cash), risking running into trouble with the state for selling merchandise without a business license, and spend a day driving to and selling in the disaster area. Now, let me charge an extra 25% or 50% and it becomes worth it.
 
2012-11-11 10:08:03 PM

get real: I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?



Google "free estimate." It's a common practice, used, as I said, to get the business for the actual work. I don't know where you live, but it sounds like a pit full of weasels.
 
2012-11-11 10:13:47 PM

AssAsInAssassin: get real: I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?


Google "free estimate." It's a common practice, used, as I said, to get the business for the actual work. I don't know where you live, but it sounds like a pit full of weasels.


It's possible part of their emergency pricing is to charge for an estimate even when they don't normally do so. After all, you don't want to send somebody into the middle of a disaster area only to have the customer decide they don't want to pay for the repair.
 
2012-11-11 10:14:38 PM
If you're pro-choice and anti-gouging, you're a hypocrite. Anti-gouging laws are another example of trying to legislate morality.

/amidoinitrite?
 
2012-11-11 10:16:30 PM

the801: When Sandy knocked out power at Michael and Elizabeth Yamashiata's Chester home, the couple needed service to get their generator up and running.

i wonder to what extent the breakdown of modern civilization can be correlated with the misuse of the word 'need'.


WPP
 
2012-11-11 10:17:22 PM
Gouging laws should all be repealed immediately. Price too high? Don't buy it. Works every time.
 
2012-11-11 10:17:49 PM

rugman11: AssAsInAssassin: get real: I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?


Google "free estimate." It's a common practice, used, as I said, to get the business for the actual work. I don't know where you live, but it sounds like a pit full of weasels.

It's possible part of their emergency pricing is to charge for an estimate even when they don't normally do so. After all, you don't want to send somebody into the middle of a disaster area only to have the customer decide they don't want to pay for the repair.



Agreed--that's standard. That business that normally does free estimates--ask them to come out to look at your roof damage at 3am, or to meet you on the side of the highway to eyeball the car problem and give you a free estimate. That's really not how most places work.
 
2012-11-11 10:24:55 PM

kroonermanblack: ElBarto79: Electricity is not a "luxury" in any developed country. The fact that lots of other people in the neighborhood don't have it is irrelevant, there was a hurricane. There's a reason they call it a state of emergency, not a state of normalcy.

It farking well is a luxury. We don't have to have electricity to eat, sleep, and defecate. We need it for creature comforts and brain deadening. We've lived for millions of years without it. As someone who's been through 2 different Texas hurricanes (Rita and Katrina, living in the deep east texas pineywoods and Houston through both), I went 3+ weeks without electricity the second time, and 2 weeks the first. Life changes, it was stupidly hot and miserable, but I had (gasp) water and food so I lived.

Obvious exception for people who do require refrigeration services, for medication etc. Starbucks is a luxury too, fyi..


Anyone who requires refrigeration services? You mean like anyone who has perishable food? Gee how many people would be in that boat... We also lived for millions of years without mechanized transportation, telephones and modern medical care. Are these things "luxuries" as well? I suppose at one point we all lived in caves and crude huts and foraged for food so anything beyond that is a "luxury" by your definition.

You sound like Rush Limbaugh criticizing poor people for collecting government benefits when they have the "luxury" of a refrigerator and telephone.
 
2012-11-11 10:24:59 PM

spentmiles: Why would a thief have a banana over his head?


It shows he is serious.
 
2012-11-11 10:25:52 PM
unless it's food or water -- the market should determine the price.

If you are a shiatbag home owner who can't afford the CLEARLY specified rates -- then you deserve to have the part (that you haven't paid for) ripped out, and either 1) get sued or 2) get your ass kicked.

Personally the ass kicking would be quicker and more economical.

The 10% price gouging rule only makes those with supplies NOT want to move them to where they are needed the most. If I have to brave some jacked up weather, possible riots, or just crazy people - all for a lousy 10% fark that.

Want to avoid things like price gouging? You had a good 7 days to know a storm was on it's way, in that time you could have bought everything you need at normal prices.

Supply and demand -- it's REALLY easy to understand. If my skills and products are suddenly "worth" 5X their value, why the hell should I be forced to perform or sell them for 20% of their market value?
 
2012-11-11 10:26:43 PM

JosephFinn: ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven

Way ahead of me. Saw that and just....eh....what? What the frak is this guy talking about?


Let's say some really rich guy's generator breaks down. There's a poor person who has a working generator. The poor person offers to sell the rich guy their generator...for a million dollars. Think the millionaire's going to spent a week in the dark?

Back when we were an agrarian nation, this was more obvious. A poor farmer could barely get by for a decade, then one tornado or blight misses him. Suddenly, he's rich, since rich people can either buy his produce or starve.

Well, that's how it works in theory. In practice, the grasshopper eats the ant.
 
2012-11-11 10:27:05 PM

orclover: [happilyamerican.com image 500x331]
You have to remember to negotiate. Especially if its a emergency and your families life is on the line, not just comfort. If your life truly hangs in the balance and its not just a matter of irritation, then you can always find a way to negotiate the price and find something the person with what you need really holds valuable.


they dont alow private ownership of guns in new jersey. you have to know someone to get any kind of permit to exercise your rights, welvome to america now.
 
2012-11-11 10:30:20 PM
Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them
 
2012-11-11 10:33:32 PM

Duke_leto_Atredes: they dont alow private ownership of guns in new jersey.


Huh? That just isn't true. The state has more restrictive gun laws than most, but the idea that they don't allow gun ownership is complete fiction.
 
2012-11-11 10:36:06 PM

ricbach229: Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them


It's a shame those laws prevented you from your noble, selfless efforts. Better luck next time, o' Knight of Knights.
 
2012-11-11 10:36:57 PM
Yeah I misread the initial service call as being in the night during the storm. Thank you for pointing that out. Given that I think I'm being reasonable, and the poster I've been mostly responding to seems very reasonable, I figured one of us was misreading one or more items in the story. In my defense I have a horrid sinus infection atm. ;)

That it was noon depends then on the conditions at that time. I could see still running emergency rates when people have been up all night, storm still going, dangerous conditions, etc. However it does make it MUCH more reasonable to question who's telling the truth about the call. (It's just not plausible to me that someone's going out in the middle of the night w/o verification, but it wasn't the middle of the night [I was wrong]...so the story there IS now plausible to me.)

I still have issue with the fact that they were given a bill and agreed to the work, while saying it was under protest. They had days to arrange for another service while waiting on a part. If they were disputing the original bill with NO follow up work, my opinion would be different. That's where I'm hung up on it. That would change if you could show they had no other choices, and/or it was an emergency for them where it wasn't reasonable or conceivable to find someone else (someone ill needing electricity for medical reasons, etc.).

Again like most people here, do not think gouging is ever acceptable. And I was sincerely happy to read and hear about the number of people who really stepped up to help others in need during this storm. Most people aren't asshats at least.

I still have no problem with someone removing a part in the manner they did. I get that it seems to be illegal, but it doesn't seem unreasonable to me provided they're not coming back later or breaking in or some bullshiat to do it, and they're not damaging anything just putting back in the old part and taking the new [unpaid] part out. But, doesn't matter what I think there if it's illegal, they're in the wrong.
 
2012-11-11 10:41:14 PM

shoegaze99: Duke_leto_Atredes: they dont alow private ownership of guns in new jersey.

Huh? That just isn't true. The state has more restrictive gun laws than most, but the idea that they don't allow gun ownership is complete fiction.


Yea, all the deer hunters, sports shooters, and gun collectors around here would be surprised to hear we don't own our guns.
 
2012-11-11 10:43:38 PM
The he most important part of any business is to leverage any type of distress or extant need of the customer into a huge additional profit. It's how we roll. Hell, look at medicine.
 
2012-11-11 10:45:22 PM
I wonder if you would run afoul of anti-gouging rules if your business were explicitly set up as a type of auction site with reserve pricing. Under normal circumstances, it would act just like "Buy it now!" on Ebay, but when demand goes through the roof, winning bidders would get parts and service first.
 
2012-11-11 10:52:31 PM

bunner: The he most important part of any business is to leverage any type of distress or extant need of the customer into a huge additional profit. It's how we roll. Hell, look at medicine.


Scorpion antivenin: $3750 wholesale, $40,000 in the ER.
 
2012-11-11 10:53:50 PM

shoegaze99: ricbach229: Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them

It's a shame those laws prevented you from your noble, selfless efforts. Better luck next time, o' Knight of Knights.



People that need generators don't give a shiat about the motivations of the guy with out of state plates pulling up with a bunch of generators for sale.
 
2012-11-11 10:59:47 PM
Well, it's a bit of a paradox, isn't it?

The hardware stores run out of blue tarps and plywood, and the functioning gas station runs out of gas. People yell "why don't you bring in a special shipment??" and they say "the govt doesn't allow us to raise prices. Gas stations make very thin margins, and asking for fuel trucks to divert from 3 states over costs mega-bucks".

So then private businesses and "entrepreneurs" DO drive trucks out to get fuel, tarps, plywood, etc from stores the next state over, doubling or tripling the cost, and everyone's angry at them for "gouging" $50 for a $10 tarp.

Some places DO have laws against raising gas prices, that's come up since 2000 with the unstable gas prices. Well, though, WTF?? If it costs $3.10/gal to refill the underground tanks, and the law says you can't charge more than $3.05 based on the price a week ago or weeks ago before prices spiked, you may just have to stop selling gas at a loss.
 
2012-11-11 11:01:26 PM

Vangor: Critics say the rule is unfair to businesses, and it's contrary to market forces and the law of supply and demand.

Of course it is contrary to supply and demand. Emergency situations are recognized as reducing supply and substantially increasing demand while placing consumers in a position where health is threatened and therefore money becomes less important. Price gouging laws recognize and seek to prevent this.


Except in times of short supply and high demand the people that end up with the supplies are either well-connected, aggressive or lucky. Everyone else has to wait, and wait. Suppliers have little incentive to rush stock in at extra cost if they're going to be hassled with anti-gouging lawsuits. The result is that it always takes a lot longer than it should to get supply back up to meet demand.
 
2012-11-11 11:03:18 PM

ElBarto79: kroonermanblack: ElBarto79: Electricity is not a "luxury" in any developed country. The fact that lots of other people in the neighborhood don't have it is irrelevant, there was a hurricane. There's a reason they call it a state of emergency, not a state of normalcy.

It farking well is a luxury. We don't have to have electricity to eat, sleep, and defecate. We need it for creature comforts and brain deadening. We've lived for millions of years without it. As someone who's been through 2 different Texas hurricanes (Rita and Katrina, living in the deep east texas pineywoods and Houston through both), I went 3+ weeks without electricity the second time, and 2 weeks the first. Life changes, it was stupidly hot and miserable, but I had (gasp) water and food so I lived.

Obvious exception for people who do require refrigeration services, for medication etc. Starbucks is a luxury too, fyi..

Anyone who requires refrigeration services? You mean like anyone who has perishable food? Gee how many people would be in that boat... We also lived for millions of years without mechanized transportation, telephones and modern medical care. Are these things "luxuries" as well? I suppose at one point we all lived in caves and crude huts and foraged for food so anything beyond that is a "luxury" by your definition.

You sound like Rush Limbaugh criticizing poor people for collecting government benefits when they have the "luxury" of a refrigerator and telephone.


No, you're wrong. Losing food isn't 'need.' Being so old you'll die in the heat or cold is need.
 
2012-11-11 11:05:20 PM

ElBarto79: Anyone who requires refrigeration services? You mean like anyone who has perishable food? Gee how many people would be in that boat... We also lived for millions of years without mechanized transportation, telephones and modern medical care. Are these things "luxuries" as well? I suppose at one point we all lived in caves and crude huts and foraged for food so anything beyond that is a "luxury" by your definition.


You're really taking it to an extreme. 2/3 of my food, at the moment, is not in my refrigerator or my deep freezer. Of that food, I can probably prepare 1/3 of it without electricity or refrigerated items. That would sustain my 3-person family for about 3 weeks if we rationed it out. THAT is the definition of NEED. Refrigerated food is not a NEED. It is a LUXURY.

Modern medicine could be considered a need, obviously, for those with special health needs or those who fall ill, but that is nowhere near the topic of the conversation we're having and you're fishing for a point. It's also situation and not a persistent need.

Mechanized transportation is not a need, either, and never has been. I know you've seen some of the other cultures living on this ball of dirt with us, and how many get around just fine on their own, as did the majority of us up until a hundred years ago. A hundred years ago. The human race in its current evolution is estimated to have existed for 20,000 years. Consider that. Now call mechanical transportation a need. We survived 19,900 years without it.

Now google the year electricity was found in, say, more than 20% of households in the world. You might be surprised.
 
2012-11-11 11:12:35 PM

fozziewazzi: Vangor: Critics say the rule is unfair to businesses, and it's contrary to market forces and the law of supply and demand.

Of course it is contrary to supply and demand. Emergency situations are recognized as reducing supply and substantially increasing demand while placing consumers in a position where health is threatened and therefore money becomes less important. Price gouging laws recognize and seek to prevent this.

Except in times of short supply and high demand the people that end up with the supplies are either well-connected, aggressive or lucky. Everyone else has to wait, and wait. Suppliers have little incentive to rush stock in at extra cost if they're going to be hassled with anti-gouging lawsuits. The result is that it always takes a lot longer than it should to get supply back up to meet demand.


This is the biggest thing. People don't realize that those resources are going to be distributed based on some factor, price is just one option. Without gouging, resources are distributed based on connections or time. Whoever gets to the resource first or who can wait the longest gets it. That sucks for people who are unconnected and who can't get to the gas station to fill their generator before the gas runs out because a tree fell on their car. With gouging, resources are distributed (somewhat) based on need. Those who don't need gas, don't buy it because it's so expensive. Those who need gas have to pay more, but at least they can get it, which they might not be able to do when the gas stations run out because they couldn't raise their prices.
 
2012-11-11 11:13:16 PM

ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven


He's an idiot. There's a lot of retarded misapplication of economic theory these days. My favorite is that "lowering taxes will increase revenues and money will trickle down to the poor" thing. That theoretically COULD happen, but anyone who isn't a total shiatforbrains knows it won't. Just like price gouging COULD cause profit seeking suppliers to flood the market with parts and cause prices to plummet. It theoretically might happen maybe-kinda, so you're a communist if you try to stop [insert exploitative business behavior].
 
2012-11-11 11:14:27 PM

ManRay: shoegaze99: ricbach229: Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them

It's a shame those laws prevented you from your noble, selfless efforts. Better luck next time, o' Knight of Knights.


People that need generators don't give a shiat about the motivations of the guy with out of state plates pulling up with a bunch of generators for sale.


Oh but they DO. You probably don't know all these people buying generators. One guy comes in and does EXACTLY what's in this article. "But this generator is $300 on Amazon! They sell it for $350 in town! And you hand me a bill for $900? I'm gonna get a cop to MAKE you sell it to me for $350!"

"'Cause I drove a 1-ton diesel rig and trailer 1200 miles to an area with no hotel accommodations, no restaurants, no gas, no water, no electricity, no cell service, to BRING you this generator. Asshole."

Most probably wouldn't just park by the roadside with a "generators 4 sale" sign. They'd go to the locally owned store that called them and CONTRACTED for them to drive down, and that store needs to charge $900 to make this work.
 
2012-11-11 11:14:52 PM

Wulfman: rugman11: AssAsInAssassin: get real: I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?


Google "free estimate." It's a common practice, used, as I said, to get the business for the actual work. I don't know where you live, but it sounds like a pit full of weasels.

It's possible part of their emergency pricing is to charge for an estimate even when they don't normally do so. After all, you don't want to send somebody into the middle of a disaster area only to have the customer decide they don't want to pay for the repair.


Agreed--that's standard. That business that normally does free estimates--ask them to come out to look at your roof damage at 3am, or to meet you on the side of the highway to eyeball the car problem and give you a free estimate. That's really not how most places work.


The wife called them at 10:00 AM. They didn't return the call. They just showed up 2 hours later and slapped them with a bill for more than $500 without even fixing the problem. Not cool.
 
2012-11-11 11:20:17 PM

accelerus: The 10% price gouging rule only makes those with supplies NOT want to move them to where they are needed the most.


You're not getting them where they're needed the most, you're getting them to those who are willing to pay the most. A rich guy being comfortable is not worth more than a poor guy freezing to death. We have all sorts of safety laws and minimum wage laws because as a society we recognize that there is a line.
 
2012-11-11 11:21:58 PM

AssAsInAssassin: The wife called them at 10:00 AM. They didn't return the call. They just showed up 2 hours later and slapped them with a bill for more than $500 without even fixing the problem. Not cool.



Meh, I always think it's awesome the way people choose to believe one side or the other's story for no reason at all. Personally, I think it's at least possible that she's lying about that, and I don't know why you wouldn't assume that, too. And yes, I assume the company is lying about some part of this, too. But I don't know what part they're lying about, because I wasn't there. I just know that a dispute wound up in the news and people tend to leave out the parts of the story that show they're at least partly at fault for the dispute, and they tend to outright lie about other parts of the story that they think will be hard to prove.

Hey, since you so clearly were there for the whole farking thing, maybe you could tell me!
 
2012-11-11 11:23:29 PM
Who cares, if he's stupid enough to live in New Jersey, he's stupid enough.
 
2012-11-11 11:23:55 PM

Oznog: ManRay: shoegaze99: ricbach229: Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them

It's a shame those laws prevented you from your noble, selfless efforts. Better luck next time, o' Knight of Knights.


People that need generators don't give a shiat about the motivations of the guy with out of state plates pulling up with a bunch of generators for sale.

Oh but they DO. You probably don't know all these people buying generators. One guy comes in and does EXACTLY what's in this article. "But this generator is $300 on Amazon! They sell it for $350 in town! And you hand me a bill for $900? I'm gonna get a cop to MAKE you sell it to me for $350!"

"'Cause I drove a 1-ton diesel rig and trailer 1200 miles to an area with no hotel accommodations, no restaurants, no gas, no water, no electricity, no cell service, to BRING you this generator. Asshole."

Most probably wouldn't just park by the roadside with a "generators 4 sale" sign. They'd go to the locally owned store that called them and CONTRACTED for them to drive down, and that store needs to charge $900 to make this work.


NJ's law provides for exactly this scenario: store can charge $900 if that's its cost plus up to 10%. If the guys delivering to the store get 300% markup, that's OK. Store is not a consumer.
 
2012-11-11 11:25:53 PM

Wulfman: AssAsInAssassin: The wife called them at 10:00 AM. They didn't return the call. They just showed up 2 hours later and slapped them with a bill for more than $500 without even fixing the problem. Not cool.


Meh, I always think it's awesome the way people choose to believe one side or the other's story for no reason at all. Personally, I think it's at least possible that she's lying about that, and I don't know why you wouldn't assume that, too. And yes, I assume the company is lying about some part of this, too. But I don't know what part they're lying about, because I wasn't there. I just know that a dispute wound up in the news and people tend to leave out the parts of the story that show they're at least partly at fault for the dispute, and they tend to outright lie about other parts of the story that they think will be hard to prove.

Hey, since you so clearly were there for the whole farking thing, maybe you could tell me!


I wonder how many times the business tried to return the call....when theres no power theres usually no cell phone service....even landlines were farked in this storm cause of all the infrastructure that was squashed between the road and 10 tons of Maple or Poplar.
 
2012-11-11 11:27:15 PM
I dunno about the pricing, but if you install a part, and then the client does not pay loater, you have to sue them. In addition, if there is no written contract, the a court will determine that a client has a "reasonable amount of time" to pay; you can demand that they pay now but they don't have to. You can't go on their property to their house and rip the part back out, they own it now until a court makes them give it back and awards you whatever damages you ask for. The company will lose in court here.
 
2012-11-11 11:32:32 PM
Price controls... the wonder of them. First businesses can't raise prices so those who can spend their day in line try to get as much as they can before it's all gone. Now there is a shortage. Because the prices are controlled nobody from the outside bothers bringing stuff in except as charity. There is no motivation for people to displace materials and labor to the region because there's no extra profit. That 10% is more than consumed in the process of sending people and product. Now the politicians can say "the market failed" and tell people how only the government can save them.
 
2012-11-11 11:36:11 PM

Rakishi: accelerus: The 10% price gouging rule only makes those with supplies NOT want to move them to where they are needed the most.

You're not getting them where they're needed the most, you're getting them to those who are willing to pay the most. A rich guy being comfortable is not worth more than a poor guy freezing to death. We have all sorts of safety laws and minimum wage laws because as a society we recognize that there is a line.


And the first come, first served rule in place under anti-gouging laws doesn't "[get] them where they're needed the most" either, it gets them to the first person who gets in line (or to whoever is willing to pay under the table to skip the line). Scarce resources can be distributed based on time or price. The former results in shortages and means that people with true needs are unable to get the resource regardless of price. The latter usually results in resources being available to those who need them, even if it's at exorbitant prices.
 
2012-11-11 11:38:17 PM

spentmiles: Why would a thief have a banana over his head?


The potassium in the banana protects his brain from government K-rays.
 
2012-11-11 11:46:29 PM

JPSimonetti: ElBarto79: Anyone who requires refrigeration services? You mean like anyone who has perishable food? Gee how many people would be in that boat... We also lived for millions of years without mechanized transportation, telephones and modern medical care. Are these things "luxuries" as well? I suppose at one point we all lived in caves and crude huts and foraged for food so anything beyond that is a "luxury" by your definition.

You're really taking it to an extreme. 2/3 of my food, at the moment, is not in my refrigerator or my deep freezer. Of that food, I can probably prepare 1/3 of it without electricity or refrigerated items. That would sustain my 3-person family for about 3 weeks if we rationed it out. THAT is the definition of NEED. Refrigerated food is not a NEED. It is a LUXURY.

Modern medicine could be considered a need, obviously, for those with special health needs or those who fall ill, but that is nowhere near the topic of the conversation we're having and you're fishing for a point. It's also situation and not a persistent need.

Mechanized transportation is not a need, either, and never has been. I know you've seen some of the other cultures living on this ball of dirt with us, and how many get around just fine on their own, as did the majority of us up until a hundred years ago. A hundred years ago. The human race in its current evolution is estimated to have existed for 20,000 years. Consider that. Now call mechanical transportation a need. We survived 19,900 years without it.

Now google the year electricity was found in, say, more than 20% of households in the world. You might be surprised.


I guess you see things differently. You seem to think that if something is not required to sustain life then it's a luxury, there is no middle ground. I suppose I see a middle ground which could be called "required for modern life". You don't need a refrigerator to live, but I would hardly call it a luxury, same for a car, or a cellphone, or hvac. Someone living in a modest apartment with a few basic appliances and conveniences is hardly living what could be called luxury. Yes by historical standards he may be living like a king, so what, times change, we're not all in little lean to's out in the woods foraging for twigs and berries, the average human lifespan was probably somewhere in the 20s or 30s too back then I might add.

Anyway i'm not going to get further into an argument over semantics. You stick with your definition, I'll stick with mine. I don't see electricity as a "luxury". And fortunately there are lots of lawmakers and government officials who feel the same way which is why there has been a concerted effort to restore power to those affected.
 
2012-11-11 11:50:03 PM
Just more evidence that capitalism is a disgusting sickness that the world would be better without.
 
2012-11-11 11:50:16 PM

ZzeusS: I read the article, and most of the comments on their forums. Sounds like the client was a dirtbag.

We have a service business. I've learned to verbally give rates over the phone and get their OK, before we roll a truck. If the new client seems hesitant but moves ahead, we take a rate sheet, which has their address and a spot to sign. If they don't sign; we walk. It's worth losing the time to/from then to get caught up in BS later on down the road.

Sounds like this guy tried to weasel out of his bill - again.


The problem here isn't the bill for the service, but the emergency pricing surcharge. That's what the dispute was over.

rugman11: I can't speak to the actual labor or to the laws, but none of this sounds odd. Their policy is that they have a two-hour labor minimum. This policy is known well in advance and is not unreasonable for this type of service. Their labor rate is $80/hour, which is pretty standard and they double that for emergency calls. According to New Jersey law, it's only gouging if you raise the price higher than what you charged before the emergency was declared. This business didn't do that, hence, they didn't gouge.


Except they charged the emergency rate for a call-out in non-emergency hours.
 
2012-11-11 11:52:12 PM

RogermcAllen: They had a guy in NPR that was riding the free buses around to city just to rubberneck.


How horrible! And the incremental cost to the bus agency for him doing that was...what, exactly?

When I was a kid I used to like riding the escalators at the mall. Sometimes I'd ride up just to ride back down. Was I being horrible too?

//Yes I'm so old escalators used to be exciting. Off my lawn!
 
2012-11-11 11:54:24 PM

orclover: [happilyamerican.com image 500x331]
You have to remember to negotiate. Especially if its a emergency and your families life is on the line, not just comfort. If your life truly hangs in the balance and its not just a matter of irritation, then you can always find a way to negotiate the price and find something the person with what you need really holds valuable.


Why would you need a shotgun for that? I bench 400 and could easily kill anyone who threatened me with my bare hands. You sound fat. Do you even lift?
 
2012-11-11 11:59:37 PM

PlasticMoby: Just more evidence that capitalism is a disgusting sickness that the world would be better without.


Care to explain?
 
2012-11-12 12:00:00 AM

Loren:

Except they charged the emergency rate for a call-out in non-emergency hours.


Are you seriously arguing that post-hurricane isn't an emergency situation? According to the article they were giving their employees emergency pay since it was an emergency situation, thus the emergency labor rates.
 
2012-11-12 12:00:31 AM

Rufus Lee King: You should have read your grammar textbook back in elementary school, eh?


Please excuse me your royal majASSty, your subjects should know that everything revolves around grammar in the world. My generator runs just fine.
 
2012-11-12 12:04:51 AM

wedun: orclover: [happilyamerican.com image 500x331]
You have to remember to negotiate. Especially if its a emergency and your families life is on the line, not just comfort. If your life truly hangs in the balance and its not just a matter of irritation, then you can always find a way to negotiate the price and find something the person with what you need really holds valuable.

Why would you need a shotgun for that? I bench 400 and could easily kill anyone who threatened me with my bare hands. You sound fat. Do you even lift?


Lol. 2/10. Not a lot of hyperbole, which gives your a few points. The "do you even lift" gave it away though.
 
2012-11-12 12:09:11 AM

Vangor: Of course it is contrary to supply and demand. Emergency situations are recognized as reducing supply and substantially increasing demand while placing consumers in a position where health is threatened and therefore money becomes less important. Price gouging laws recognize and seek to prevent this.


Yeah, price gouging laws also make it less worthwhile for people to leave their own families to help others. They encourage or at least fail to curb hoarding and they eliminate most incentives for people to spend extra money over time to ensure that supplies are available during a disaster.

Only someone led entirely by short term feelings and/or without an understanding of basic economics would support "price gouging" laws.
 
2012-11-12 12:11:40 AM

Waldo Pepper: I agree with the law but allowing for a 20% markup would seem to be more in line at least on the labor. these folks are coming out in horrible conditions, don't the police and other union jobs get special pay for these types of emergencies?


Yeah. Appparently overtime and hazard pay during a disaster are not considered price gouging. Nor does the government crack down on individuals "gouging" the way it does companies.

When a gas station owner raises gas prices $0.50/gal, the news media is there and various government officials are there to promise all sorts of penalties and investigations. When a group of people buy as much of that gas as they can and then sell it across the street for $10/gallon, not much happens.
 
2012-11-12 12:18:29 AM
Reading this thread has been like watching Spock and Bones argue. :-)

G'nite, folks, and thanks for the entertainment!
 
2012-11-12 12:19:11 AM

SevenizGud: Gouging laws should all be repealed immediately. Price too high? Don't buy it. Works every time.


THIS.

If you don't like the price, just pretend that whatever you're looking for has run out. In disaster or short supply situation and price constraints, it will run out and not be resupplied anytime.
 
2012-11-12 12:19:42 AM

JosephFinn: ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven

Way ahead of me. Saw that and just....eh....what? What the frak is this guy talking about?


If he was not misquoted, he's a lunatic. Price gouging will never help the poor (by definition). The increased interest in higher profits could only bring the price down to an acceptable market level through competition. But the poor, of course, cannot afford the market level.

But I suspect misquoting. I've been misquoted in the press ...
 
2012-11-12 12:25:34 AM

PlasticMoby: Just more evidence that capitalism is a disgusting sickness that the world would be better without.


Yeah, I'm sure breadlines and government supply stores supplying one type of coffee, one make of shoes, etc. are far better then capitalism allowing myriads choices of varying quality and/or price.
 
2012-11-12 12:26:35 AM

de_Selby: JosephFinn: ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven

Way ahead of me. Saw that and just....eh....what? What the frak is this guy talking about?

If he was not misquoted, he's a lunatic. Price gouging will never help the poor (by definition). The increased interest in higher profits could only bring the price down to an acceptable market level through competition. But the poor, of course, cannot afford the market level.

But I suspect misquoting. I've been misquoted in the press ...


It's also not going to help with when everyone else gets as much as they can when it's available, leaving nothing for the rest.
 
2012-11-12 12:27:42 AM
Oznog: ManRay: shoegaze99: ricbach229: Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them

It's a shame those laws prevented you from your noble, selfless efforts. Better luck next time, o' Knight of Knights.


People that need generators don't give a shiat about the motivations of the guy with out of state plates pulling up with a bunch of generators for sale.

Oh but they DO. You probably don't know all these people buying generators. One guy comes in and does EXACTLY what's in this article. "But this generator is $300 on Amazon! They sell it for $350 in town! And you hand me a bill for $900? I'm gonna get a cop to MAKE you sell it to me for $350!"

"'Cause I drove a 1-ton diesel rig and trailer 1200 miles to an area with no hotel accommodations, no restaurants, no gas, no water, no electricity, no cell service, to BRING you this generator. Asshole."

Most probably wouldn't just park by the roadside with a "generators 4 sale" sign. They'd go to the locally owned store that called them and CONTRACTED for them to drive down, and that store needs to charge $900 to make this work.

BarkingUnicorn: NJ's law provides for exactly this scenario: store can charge $900 if that's its cost plus up to 10%. If the guys delivering to the store get 300% markup, that's OK. Store is not a consumer.


Strikes me as awkward. Because it takes a third-party accountant to figure this out. And I'd just hire my brother to drive down generators and give him $10,000 in cash as people fork it over, but he's my brother, so that's basically me. Well there's probably tax accounting problems there, buying from a third party who may have no business tax ID. But it's an accounting question and not something the cops and a NJ District Attorney usually get into investigating. It's a highly nonstandard accounting question, "how much did he profit, really?" Well the IRS has like 10,000 pages dictating how to figure that out and closing loopholes to change the game. Local laws would only be able to make very simplistic calls on this.
 
2012-11-12 12:31:47 AM

pedrop357: Only someone led entirely by short term feelings and/or without an understanding of basic economics would support "price gouging" laws.


So at least 51% of the nation.
 
2012-11-12 12:32:43 AM

pedrop357: Waldo Pepper: I agree with the law but allowing for a 20% markup would seem to be more in line at least on the labor. these folks are coming out in horrible conditions, don't the police and other union jobs get special pay for these types of emergencies?

Yeah. Appparently overtime and hazard pay during a disaster are not considered price gouging. Nor does the government crack down on individuals "gouging" the way it does companies.

When a gas station owner raises gas prices $0.50/gal, the news media is there and various government officials are there to promise all sorts of penalties and investigations. When a group of people buy as much of that gas as they can and then sell it across the street for $10/gallon, not much happens.


The difference between a gas station jacking up prices and that being wrong compared to a person who buys gas then sales it somewhere else at a much higher price. Think of it this way:

John owns a store in a disaster area. Those in the area need generators. John doesn't raise his prices. Then he notices that outside companies are coming in and selling generators at three times his prices, so he jacks up his prices. That's a price gouge by John. Hell, even if there were no outside companies and John said "Supply and Demand" and jacked up his prices, that would be supply and demand.

A company travels a thousand miles into a disaster area to help out via supplies, skilled labor for repair work, etc. Companies normally aren't funded to be charity services, so they figure that to cover hourly wages, expenses associated with travel, hazards, etc, that they need to raise their prices and then MAYBE break even. That's not price gouging, that's business. Unfortunately, as been stated already, the anti-gouging laws may take effect and tell outside suppliers that they must take a loss if they want to help. Well, if a company is Texas is willing to do the work and has the supplies, it's not going to be worth the loss to do it. So the anti-gouging laws will actually hurt more people because skilled laborers and suppliers will stay away.

A man buys gasoline in an area where they are selling gasoline. He buys the containers and uses his time and money to fill those containers up with gas and then transports them (a very dangerous task by the way, just talk to a gas tanker truck driver) back to his home neighborhood, which is in the disaster area, he's entitled to raise the price of that gas to what ever the hell he wants. No one is being forced to buy his gasoline. I mean, he is taking the risk of driving in a vehicle full of gasoline in a hazardous area. One person rear ends him and it could be very very bad. Again, he's not price gouging, he's figuring in what that gas is now worth figuring in what he's paid for it, plus hazard pay and his time for doing it all. Again, this isn't price gouging.
 
2012-11-12 12:41:57 AM

Wulfman: AssAsInAssassin: The wife called them at 10:00 AM. They didn't return the call. They just showed up 2 hours later and slapped them with a bill for more than $500 without even fixing the problem. Not cool.


Meh, I always think it's awesome the way people choose to believe one side or the other's story for no reason at all. Personally, I think it's at least possible that she's lying about that, and I don't know why you wouldn't assume that, too. And yes, I assume the company is lying about some part of this, too. But I don't know what part they're lying about, because I wasn't there. I just know that a dispute wound up in the news and people tend to leave out the parts of the story that show they're at least partly at fault for the dispute, and they tend to outright lie about other parts of the story that they think will be hard to prove.

Hey, since you so clearly were there for the whole farking thing, maybe you could tell me!


The only assumption I'm making is that the article is accurate. That's all I have to go by, and it's all I've commented on.

Relax, man, it's only Fark.
 
2012-11-12 12:44:30 AM

fozziewazzi: Suppliers have little incentive to rush stock in at extra cost if they're going to be hassled with anti-gouging lawsuits.


Except the extra costs are reasonable to pass on to consumers and do not incur anti-gouging lawsuits. But are you suggesting there is no incentive such as increasing customer loyalty, brand awareness, gaining market share, volume, etc.? The demand could also subside. Assuming, however, this company has a monopoly and the demand does not subside until supplied by this company, the incentive for the company is to maintain low supply to keep prices high, or increase supply all the same and ignore supply and demand to gouge.

pedrop357: Yeah, price gouging laws also make it less worthwhile for people to leave their own families to help others.


Sure, less worthwhile, but not worthless and not eliminating what people seem to believe is the sole incentive to help others.

pedrop357: Only someone led entirely by short term feelings and/or without an understanding of basic economics would support "price gouging" laws.


I think you have to have a basic understanding of economics to support price gouging laws, otherwise you would have no idea price gouging occurs during disasters. Plus, we live in a society where a disaster generally stagnates supply for a short while which resumes after the critical period.
 
2012-11-12 12:51:34 AM

Great Janitor: The difference between a gas station jacking up prices and that being wrong compared to a person who buys gas then sales it somewhere else at a much higher price. Think of it this way:

John owns a store in a disaster area. Those in the area need generators. John doesn't raise his prices. Then he notices that outside companies are coming in and selling generators at three times his prices, so he jacks up his prices. That's a price gouge by John. Hell, even if there were no outside companies and John said "Supply and Demand" and jacked up his prices, that would be supply and demand.


In this case, only outsiders can be compensated for disaster conditions and charge enough to ensure they'll be able to pay higher supply costs. Existing retailers find themselves competing on heavily distorted playing field.

if John wants to convince a supplier to bring new supplies into his area, he has to pay them more. It's not very economical for him to do that if he can't raise prices to match his new temporary increased overhead costs. In the meantime, he's hamstrung to doing only what he used to do while other are free to come from outside and make more money and bring in supplies that John won't be able to afford at the prices he's allowed to charge.

A man buys gasoline in an area where they are selling gasoline. He buys the containers and uses his time and money to fill those containers up with gas and then transports them (a very dangerous task by the way, just talk to a gas tanker truck driver) back to his home neighborhood, which is in the disaster area, he's entitled to raise the price of that gas to what ever the hell he wants. No one is being forced to buy his gasoline. I mean, he is taking the risk of driving in a vehicle full of gasoline in a hazardous area. One person rear ends him and it could be very very bad. Again, he's not price gouging, he's figuring in what that gas is now worth figuring in what he's paid for it, plus hazard pay and his time for doing it all. Again, this isn't price gouging.

This guy has to then sell only to consumers. He won't be able to sell to retailers if the retailers are limited in the prices they charge. Effectively, in a disaster, the existing retailers and stores find themselves unable to charge enough to cover higher supply charges AND usurped by a group of people unburdened by those rules. That in every disaster the typical retail market gets taken over by grey market and private individuals who have different set of rules to operate under would be disturbingly unfair.
 
2012-11-12 12:52:41 AM

whatshisname: Maybe a few days before a hurricane

the beginning of hurricane season is the time to check whether your generator is working.

Both would be appropriate.
 
2012-11-12 12:53:24 AM

Great Janitor: Unfortunately, as been stated already, the anti-gouging laws may take effect and tell outside suppliers that they must take a loss if they want to help.


Except anti-gouging laws take into account rises in the cost of business and are instead for opportunistic businesses which introduce unreasonable profit margin increases for essential items.
 
2012-11-12 12:58:33 AM

Vangor:
I think you have to have a basic understanding of economics to support price gouging laws, otherwise you would have no idea price gouging occurs during disasters. Plus, we live in a society where a disaster generally stagnates supply for a short while which resumes after the critical period.


So people who are unhappy with higher prices can simply wait a few days until normal supply resumes.

Typically judge price gouging as any price increase they don't like coupled with any event the can correlate it to. Some people scream price gouging when gas goes up 10cents and there's wildfire 300 miles away.

Except the extra costs are reasonable to pass on to consumers and do not incur anti-gouging lawsuits. But are you suggesting there is no incentive such as increasing customer loyalty, brand awareness, gaining market share, volume, etc.? The demand could also subside. Assuming, however, this company has a monopoly and the demand does not subside until supplied by this company, the incentive for the company is to maintain low supply to keep prices high, or increase supply all the same and ignore supply and demand to gouge.

Since when can gas station owners raise prices 50% or even 10% to cover additional costs in transportation?
If the delivery truck company has to pay employees overtime, spend twice as many hours driving the truck to the gas station, all the while risking damage to the truck from road hazards, injury to the employees from looters, damage or loss of product due to theft/looters, they may charge a 50 or even 100% premium. "Price gouging" laws keep gas station owners from being able to make up those costs and thus unable to get supplies as desired.
 
2012-11-12 12:59:44 AM

pedrop357: It's not very economical for him to do that if he can't raise prices to match his new temporary increased overhead costs.


But he is able to under New Jersey anti-price gouging laws; +10% markup is the limit, the actual increase of the price of the item has no other limit and will vary due to supply and service costs.
 
2012-11-12 01:00:22 AM

Vangor: Except anti-gouging laws take into account rises in the cost of business and are instead for opportunistic businesses which introduce unreasonable profit margin increases for essential items.


You've already said that supply chains get restored fairly quickly, so why is "gouging" on essential items a big deal if stores will get resupplied in a few days and prices will come down to normal?
 
2012-11-12 01:07:13 AM

pedrop357: You've already said that supply chains get restored fairly quickly, so why is "gouging" on essential items a big deal if stores will get resupplied in a few days and prices will come down to normal?


Because essential items are essential. We may discuss what essential items are or how essential certain items are, but I think we are able to agree an item which is truly essential cannot be waited on. Further, "fairly quickly" or "short while" are not precise terms.
 
2012-11-12 01:08:57 AM

pedrop357: Great Janitor: The difference between a gas station jacking up prices and that being wrong compared to a person who buys gas then sales it somewhere else at a much higher price. Think of it this way:

John owns a store in a disaster area. Those in the area need generators. John doesn't raise his prices. Then he notices that outside companies are coming in and selling generators at three times his prices, so he jacks up his prices. That's a price gouge by John. Hell, even if there were no outside companies and John said "Supply and Demand" and jacked up his prices, that would be supply and demand.

In this case, only outsiders can be compensated for disaster conditions and charge enough to ensure they'll be able to pay higher supply costs. Existing retailers find themselves competing on heavily distorted playing field.

if John wants to convince a supplier to bring new supplies into his area, he has to pay them more. It's not very economical for him to do that if he can't raise prices to match his new temporary increased overhead costs. In the meantime, he's hamstrung to doing only what he used to do while other are free to come from outside and make more money and bring in supplies that John won't be able to afford at the prices he's allowed to charge.

A man buys gasoline in an area where they are selling gasoline. He buys the containers and uses his time and money to fill those containers up with gas and then transports them (a very dangerous task by the way, just talk to a gas tanker truck driver) back to his home neighborhood, which is in the disaster area, he's entitled to raise the price of that gas to what ever the hell he wants. No one is being forced to buy his gasoline. I mean, he is taking the risk of driving in a vehicle full of gasoline in a hazardous area. One person rear ends him and it could be very very bad. Again, he's not price gouging, he's figuring in what that gas is now worth figuring in what he's paid for it, plus hazard pay and his time f ...


Basically we have the same conceptual problem the Soviets did. Those in charge who make the laws think that they could force and economy to act a certain way according to their political theory just by passing enough laws to hamstring everyone. Reality comes along and acts completely differently.

Lawmakers think "price gouging" is "wrong" and try to force the economy to act in a certain way to curtail it. Free people acting in their own rational self-interest totally sidestep what the lawmakers want and you end up with a bunch of useless laws that actually do more harm than good become the economic planners don't really understand that the dynamic nature of an economy stems from individuals acting for themselves.
 
2012-11-12 01:10:05 AM

Vangor: But he is able to under New Jersey anti-price gouging laws; +10% markup is the limit, the actual increase of the price of the item has no other limit and will vary due to supply and service costs.


Fair enough. I looked at the NJ AG site and they confirm-10% extra it is.

That's not much if the owner is paying overtime to employees, has to contend with extra shoplifting or breakage, or has to have enough money to pay a supplier a much higher cost for the next resupply.

Gas station owners would be foolish not to immediately raise their markup by 10% during any disaster just in case they need extra money for the first resupply.
 
2012-11-12 01:16:47 AM

pedrop357: That's not much if the owner is paying overtime to employees, has to contend with extra shoplifting or breakage, or has to have enough money to pay a supplier a much higher cost for the next resupply.


All of which will alter the price without running afoul of NJ anti-gouging laws no matter the increase. If gas prices suddenly spiked on the next shipment by 50% from $4.00 to $6.00 a gallon to the retailer, the retailer would still be able to increase the price by an additional $0.40 to $6.40 a gallon, based on my understanding (markup based on the previous monthly average therefore $4.00 is assumed to have held for 30 days). Not sure how this works with suppliers where the point of sale would technically be outside the affected area.
 
2012-11-12 01:27:10 AM

enry: Yeah, but they were already a problem customer. If I had two customers in front of me needing service and I knew one would pay the bill I gave him and the other might take a while, the only reason I'd take the one that paid later would be if it was worth it.

Given the comments on the site, they couldn't have been hurting for customers, so it's not like they were sitting around with nothing to do. So at some point a decision like this had to be made.


And that point could (or rather, should) have been when they received the call, before they sent out a repairman. Or at least before they installed the part. All I get from reading the comments on that site is that Innovative Electric is trying as hard as possible to do some damage control. There's a bit too much protestation on their behalf (coupled with denigration of the Yamashiatas) for me to easily believe that the company's practices are on the up and up.
 
2012-11-12 02:13:35 AM
IANAL, but this idea of whether the overtime pay can be considered an additional cost or not to justify the markup at 10% over cost rather than 10% over "normal" is an interesting question.

Another one I have is what about the cases where MSRP/list price is 5X what anybody ever pays for something. Could all businesses start playing the perpetual close-out sale pricing, but then suspend it during emergency game?
 
2012-11-12 02:31:15 AM

Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.


The article states that they only charge the emergency pricing at night and on the weekend, noon on a Tuesday is not at night or the weekend.
 
2012-11-12 02:35:38 AM
So what i were a local store selling generators normally at $500 each. 1 week in advance i knew the hurricane was coming so i start selling the same generators for $600 each before the storm hits. During the storm and during the state of emergency after words i can now sell them for $660 each.

Is that still legal?
 
2012-11-12 02:35:55 AM

taurusowner: pedrop357: Great Janitor: The difference between a gas station jacking up prices and that being wrong compared to a person who buys gas then sales it somewhere else at a much higher price. Think of it this way:

John owns a store in a disaster area. Those in the area need generators. John doesn't raise his prices. Then he notices that outside companies are coming in and selling generators at three times his prices, so he jacks up his prices. That's a price gouge by John. Hell, even if there were no outside companies and John said "Supply and Demand" and jacked up his prices, that would be supply and demand.

In this case, only outsiders can be compensated for disaster conditions and charge enough to ensure they'll be able to pay higher supply costs. Existing retailers find themselves competing on heavily distorted playing field.

if John wants to convince a supplier to bring new supplies into his area, he has to pay them more. It's not very economical for him to do that if he can't raise prices to match his new temporary increased overhead costs. In the meantime, he's hamstrung to doing only what he used to do while other are free to come from outside and make more money and bring in supplies that John won't be able to afford at the prices he's allowed to charge.

A man buys gasoline in an area where they are selling gasoline. He buys the containers and uses his time and money to fill those containers up with gas and then transports them (a very dangerous task by the way, just talk to a gas tanker truck driver) back to his home neighborhood, which is in the disaster area, he's entitled to raise the price of that gas to what ever the hell he wants. No one is being forced to buy his gasoline. I mean, he is taking the risk of driving in a vehicle full of gasoline in a hazardous area. One person rear ends him and it could be very very bad. Again, he's not price gouging, he's figuring in what that gas is now worth figuring in what he's paid for it, plus hazard pay and ...


Politicians are against price gouging because most people are against it.

Most people believe that once a hurricane hits they should be able to go to Home Depot and buy a generator, preferably on a hardship discount, so their koi pond doesn't die.

They don't understand that first come first serve is a poor rationing scheme, which provides no incentive to increase the supply, whereas price rationing makes the koi pond owner give up as the price is too high, and then someone who really needs it can buy the generator.

In addition, every generator in nearby but unhit regions now has a price incentive to truck it over to the afflicted area.

Also, we'll see they let in Wal-Mart now. They can provide food and water much faster than others, as they did in Kartrina.
 
2012-11-12 02:40:20 AM

soj4life: Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.

The article states that they only charge the emergency pricing at night and on the weekend, noon on a Tuesday is not at night or the weekend.


Not to mention that even if their "emergency rate" was was actually created with the intent to use it during an actual state of emergency I don't think it would then be legal. The law is that you can't increase your prices due to an emergency (outside the 10% deal). Planning and setting your rates ahead of time for states of emergencies shouldn't change that.

Just because you planned your price gouging ahead of time doesn't mean that you are not price gouging. If that's even what they were doing. I think they just took their off hours rate, and applied it on a Tuesday due to the storm. Which would still appear to be illegal.
 
2012-11-12 02:43:11 AM
So its OK for the bankers to pay themselves billions of dollars in additional payments for doing such an outstanding job, but the moment an engineer tries to add some gravy to the price of a job due to supply and demand HE is seen as the criminal?!
You people have a farked up view of what is acceptable in capitalism!
 
2012-11-12 02:46:17 AM

Seige101: So what i were a local store selling generators normally at $500 each. 1 week in advance i knew the hurricane was coming so i start selling the same generators for $600 each before the storm hits. During the storm and during the state of emergency after words i can now sell them for $660 each.

Is that still legal?


No, would be based on the previous month average price across the area, not a sudden snapshot.
 
2012-11-12 03:06:10 AM

Seige101: So what i were a local store selling generators normally at $500 each. 1 week in advance i knew the hurricane was coming so i start selling the same generators for $600 each before the storm hits. During the storm and during the state of emergency after words i can now sell them for $660 each.

Is that still legal?


See Vangor's comment about 1 month average.
You might be better off gambling a bit by raising the prices at the start of hurricane season. You'd basically bet on selling few generators during that increase period unless a hurricane hit, then selling all at your hurricane season markup + 10% disaster markup. Hopefully you'd use the extra money to get more generators when other places can't afford to make it worth for suppliers.
 
2012-11-12 03:07:39 AM
Price-gouging is just an overly emotive term for supply and demand.
I have something you want, I should be allowed to charge what I like. As the buyer, you have the right to not buy what I am selling, or buy it then never buy from me again if you chose.
This is not a robbery occuring here - its how we trade our goods and services every day.
 
2012-11-12 03:09:23 AM

pagstuff: IANAL, but this idea of whether the overtime pay can be considered an additional cost or not to justify the markup at 10% over cost rather than 10% over "normal" is an interesting question.

Another one I have is what about the cases where MSRP/list price is 5X what anybody ever pays for something. Could all businesses start playing the perpetual close-out sale pricing, but then suspend it during emergency game?


That's what I was thinking. Something along the lines of always advertising gas at $6/gal, BUT offering a continual (but always say revokable at anytime) discount that varies it back to what some would consider normal prices and then suspending the discount during a disaster.
 
2012-11-12 03:17:07 AM

get real: I don't know where you live but every small business charges an evaluation charge, why in the hell would they tell you what is wrong so you can shop around?


Funny most businesses I've dealt with around here, roll the evaluation charge into the bill for service. Often if they can't fix something, no charge.

Cobataiwan: They don't understand that first come first serve is a poor rationing scheme, which provides no incentive to increase the supply, whereas price rationing makes the koi pond owner give up as the price is too high, and then someone who really needs it can buy the generator.


So the rich guys's Koi live, and the old fart that needs power for his oxygen generator dies.
 
2012-11-12 03:19:38 AM

sminkypinky: Price-gouging is just an overly emotive term for supply and demand.
I have something you want, I should be allowed to charge what I like. As the buyer, you have the right to not buy what I am selling, or buy it then never buy from me again if you chose.
This is not a robbery occuring here - its how we trade our goods and services every day.


That's it. At the end of the day, the product in question does belong to the retailer selling it. If they want to sell really high today, that's their business. If someone doesn't like it, they're free to go somewhere else. People always forget that with 'price gouging' laws in place, a lot of people end up with nothing because the supply ran out very quickly, which leaves them in the exact same place as they would have been without 'price gouging' laws and a store asking more then they want to pay.

Also, somehow it's only considered gouging when businesses do it. When some guy fills up and drives across the street and sells what he's got for $10/gal, very little is said about that. if I have a spare generator or two and decide to sell for 3x market value during a disaster, the news doesn't show up to comment on my profiteering.
 
2012-11-12 03:39:20 AM

gibbon1: So the rich guys's Koi live, and the old fart that needs power for his oxygen generator dies.


Which is likely to happen anyway.

Everyone buys a generator to power their iPad and bluray player, some buy two or three to sell across the street for 3-5 x what they paid and the old guy gets to the store too late to get a generator.

He has a better chance of one being available without "price gouging" laws in place, and a decent chance that he won't be charged 5x normal price like he would from the recent entrepreneur across the street.

Also, what happens to that o2 generator if the old guy cant run a generator where he's at? Good luck getting an apartment complex to tolerate the standard $500 generator's noise for very long. Those 3000w/$450 home depot generators are incredibly loud. He may have to go with a quiet inverter based one, but those can be as much as $950 for 1000 watts (greedy gougers making people pay exorbitant rates for quiet generators.)

On a side note, if you've never heard a Honda or Yamaha inverter generator before, it's very impressive with how quiet they are. I understand most/all inverter generators are very quiet (and expensive)

3000w equivalent of the Home Depot generator. 58b vs 71 is really nice when it's running in the middle of the night. The $2000 price tag vs $450 isn't.
 
2012-11-12 04:12:49 AM

pedrop357: He has a better chance of one being available without "price gouging" laws in place, and a decent chance that he won't be charged 5x normal price like he would from the recent entrepreneur across the street.


I would like to see some actual data on this. I keep hearing about stores losing stock and random folks hoarding and making bank, but items are not out of supply long enough to do this on small scales in the majority of situations. Some old fella across the road in a lawn chair with a sign advertising generators at 500% doesn't really exist because people are not exactly cruising about in environments where deliveries cannot be made. Besides, he takes cash, and if I am able to get to the bank, a truck can get to the store.
 
2012-11-12 04:55:42 AM
As long as the rich get theirs and continue to have the advantage in every situation possible I'm sure everything will be fine. That how economy grow right?
 
2012-11-12 05:32:14 AM
Suppose you have the opportunity to help people in need during a disaster and are assured a 10% profit margin in doing so. If you are the type who would decline because it's not worth your trouble, people who have enacted anti-gouging laws don't want your type of help.
 
2012-11-12 06:29:45 AM

sminkypinky: Price-gouging is an accurate term to describe something that isnt anywhere close to normal economics.

This is highway robbery occuring here - its not how we trade our goods and services every day.


FTFY

I'd like to know what the weather is over in your neck of the woods since every day must be a disaster.

/Sanity prevails where antigouging laws are enacted
//It also preserves businesses as well
 
pla
2012-11-12 06:32:04 AM
JosephFinn : Way ahead of me. Saw that and just....eh....what? What the frak is this guy talking about?

For all you wannabe socialists complaining about price gouging, let me explain it to you.

Some of you apparently have even heard of supply and demand, right? In an emergency, supply goes down and demand goes up, right?

So, put those great big liberal brains to work and figure out what this means - The local area has a limited supply of X (gas, generator parts, PBR, whatever). Sellers can't legally jack the price to match demand. The local area therefore runs out of X. How many people did you hear on the news saying something to the effect of "Well, I didn't really need it today, but with the rationing in place I figured I'd better fill up"? BAM! Exactly how humans act regarding an undervalued commodity.

So why does this affect the poor disproportionately? The sort of "emergencies" involved here don't exist outside fairly small local areas. They only affect people too poor to leave those areas for a few weeks, or alternately, too poor to have what they want brought in from outside. And for those who don't want to just live in the Hilton for a while, If you can afford $50 a gallon gas, you can hire someone to drive upstate, fetch a few jerry-cans full, and come back. You can afford a new generator rather than begging some poor bastard who has spent the week draining swamp-water from carbs to do you a favor, "just this once" (guess how many times you'll call the average generator repairman? And he knows that). You don't need to depend on the local supply.

So, keep proving your complete lack of understanding of microeconomics 101. Incidentally, I have a factoid that make your day - "Price" acts as a form of rationing. Congrats, you've forced the government to step in on both sides of the equation simply because you don't grasp the consequences of tampering with one side of it.
 
2012-11-12 06:32:39 AM

RogermcAllen: The problem is that people are assholes and don't think about the needs of others.

Cheap gas = people will waste it driving around to look at the destruction.
Expensive gas = people will only use gas where they need it.


That's not a problem. That's precisely how it is supposed to work, and the best way for it to work, too. Nothing assholist about it. Or do you actually believe that the best course of action is to let your neighbours dictate how you should use the stuff you bought and paid for, not according to your wish but according to anyone else's desires?


RogermcAllen: They had a guy in NPR that was riding the free buses around to city just to rubberneck.


What exactly is wrong with that? Was anyone barred from riding the buses due to this guy? No? Then STFU and go on with your life.
 
2012-11-12 06:35:01 AM

Gyrfalcon: But how many people are that smart? Almost none.


Then this is a good sign that they should smarten up. Learn from their mistakes and be prepared when the next emergency comes. It's one thing to get help when needed, but it's an entirely different thing to demand being helped while doing jack shiat to prepare and mitigate the disaster, and then biatch about others being prepared.
 
2012-11-12 06:37:22 AM

shoegaze99: Just thought it was kind of shiatty customer service is all.


You see, the state is inherently incompetent and corrupt.

Oh, wait.
 
2012-11-12 06:45:51 AM

Cobataiwan: Its funny that all of the Union supporters who want high paying middle class jobs get really, really angry when they are faced with high prices for emergency work done on their generator.


No connection exists between the two different issues.
 
2012-11-12 07:18:59 AM

UseLessHuman: As long as the rich get theirs and continue to have the advantage in every situation possible I'm sure everything will be fine. That how economy grow right?



If you want better stuff, get a better job? If someone was giving out free phones, rent money, and gas, I'd probably stay home too.
 
pla
2012-11-12 07:20:21 AM
sethstorm : No connection exists between the two different issues.

You, uh...

You do understand where the negotiating power of a union comes from, right?
 
2012-11-12 07:27:52 AM

pla: You do understand where the negotiating power of a union comes from, right?


Hurricanes? I hear they're pretty powerful.
 
2012-11-12 07:48:28 AM

pedrop357: On a side note, if you've never heard a Honda or Yamaha inverter generator before, it's very impressive with how quiet they are. I understand most/all inverter generators are very quiet (and expensive)


A bunch of my friends are ravers.... So yes both very nize.

\Rather die in quiet then spend a day listening to a $400 cheap ratbucket genny.
 
2012-11-12 08:39:14 AM

shoegaze99: ricbach229: Anti-Gouging laws are making things worse and extending the pain for people in the region. I had looked into getting a load of generators and taking them to Florida a few year ago and passed because of the price gouging laws. We had all the equipment needed between a few of us, the stores here still had generators on the shelves ready to go. Me and a few friends could have had probably 40 generators in Florida within a day but since we couldn't charge enough, it wasn't worth even taking a day off work to take them. But at least nobody had to overpay for them

It's a shame those laws prevented you from your noble, selfless efforts. Better luck next time, o' Knight of Knights.


wow, you really, really, really missed the point. He was not claiming to be selfless, but was pointing out that anti-gouging laws created a disincentive to bring people a product that they could use, at a price they would still be willing to pay. You know, even in the wake of hardship, life goes on. I assume you have not left your job to take unpaid leave to help out the Sandy victims.
 
2012-11-12 08:51:41 AM

pla: JosephFinn : Way ahead of me. Saw that and just....eh....what? What the frak is this guy talking about?

For all you wannabe socialists complaining about price gouging, let me explain it to you.

Some of you apparently have even heard of supply and demand, right? In an emergency, supply goes down and demand goes up, right?

So, put those great big liberal brains to work and figure out what this means - The local area has a limited supply of X (gas, generator parts, PBR, whatever). Sellers can't legally jack the price to match demand. The local area therefore runs out of X. How many people did you hear on the news saying something to the effect of "Well, I didn't really need it today, but with the rationing in place I figured I'd better fill up"? BAM! Exactly how humans act regarding an undervalued commodity.

So why does this affect the poor disproportionately? The sort of "emergencies" involved here don't exist outside fairly small local areas. They only affect people too poor to leave those areas for a few weeks, or alternately, too poor to have what they want brought in from outside. And for those who don't want to just live in the Hilton for a while, If you can afford $50 a gallon gas, you can hire someone to drive upstate, fetch a few jerry-cans full, and come back. You can afford a new generator rather than begging some poor bastard who has spent the week draining swamp-water from carbs to do you a favor, "just this once" (guess how many times you'll call the average generator repairman? And he knows that). You don't need to depend on the local supply.

So, keep proving your complete lack of understanding of microeconomics 101. Incidentally, I have a factoid that make your day - "Price" acts as a form of rationing. Congrats, you've forced the government to step in on both sides of the equation simply because you don't grasp the consequences of tampering with one side of it.


I quit reading when you used the term big liberal brains. You're a moran.
 
2012-11-12 08:54:24 AM

sminkypinky: Price-gouging is just an overly emotive term for supply and demand.
I have something you want, I should be allowed to charge what I like. As the buyer, you have the right to not buy what I am selling, or buy it then never buy from me again if you chose.
This is not a robbery occuring here - its how we trade our goods and services every day.


=============

You are so right. The rationing that the US Gov imposed on Americans....actually, it was a near take over of the US economy...during WWII was a big mistake. I'm sure that invisible hand of free market would have beaten Hitler and Tojo a lot quicker, and more efficiently, than the socialist methods that were employed.
 
2012-11-12 09:11:28 AM

ultraholland: "If you allow so-called price gouging, then you're actually working in favor of the poor," said James Stacey Taylor, an associate professor of philosophy

whatisthisIdon'teven


It's important to understand arguments like this.

That's not to say the argument isn't wrong; but it's important to understand why it's wrong, or why it's placed.

There are many arguments such as this that actually sound inverted, but upon closer examination are precisely correct. For example, strong immigration laws in the US prevented foreign workers from taking US jobs, which encouraged greater wages in the US for US workers; this sounds like a good thing, but now one of the largest problems in the US economy is the influx of cheap goods imported from countries which can supply inexpensive labor. In effect, the "protection" afforded to US workers is simply inflation, and now US workers are priced out of the job market; if we had always had free-flowing labor, US workers would have historically needed to supply greater value--and take lower wages--providing a control for inflation and a market situation in which cost of living expenses didn't increase so quickly and so disproportionately to the rest of the world.

The argument supplied sounds wrong--it absolutely is wrong for the short-term, from the consumer end--but the long-term effect could very well be an influx of supply of goods to meet demand, which then meets a sharp drop in demand and results in cheap goods. Poor people wouldn't gain the benefit of immediate relief, but they would gain the opportunity to purchase emergency goods (in this case, generators) to prepare for the next emergency, placing them in a better situation going forward. That economic model may not predict the actual situation; but it appears to be the argument being made here.
 
2012-11-12 09:44:55 AM

JohnCarter: If a generator costs $400 and there is great need for them, if I can only sell them for $440 what is the incentive to make arrangements, extend credit, pay extra trucking etc to bring these into a disaster area. Same with gas and other supplies. What is my incentive to risk my trucks and cargo if there is no upside for my business?


Your incentives are:

1) to sell your stock
2) to sell your stock for more them usual (hey, $40 more is $40 more)
3) to gain positive publicity
4) to help out your fellow man

If all that's not enough... stay home at let people suffer. Hopefully, they'll do the same for you someday.
 
2012-11-12 10:37:23 AM

Oznog: If it costs $3.10/gal to refill the underground tanks, and the law says you can't charge more than $3.05 based on the price a week ago or weeks ago before prices spiked, you may just have to stop selling gas at a loss.


Or, you know, take the measly $0.05/gal loss, and make up for it by selling other stuff. Like stuff that is not price-controlled. See a possible hurricane coming? Go to the local big-box store(s) and buy out all their tarps/batteries/gas cans/generators/bulk water/etc/etc/etc. Then, stay open. Sure, you'll lose 5 cents on every gallon of gas, but when you're the only place they can get the above items (at a good markup), you'll make the money back and then some. You'll also get a good reputation- "That gas station is the only one that stayed open! And they had the batteries I needed for my flashlight! Next disaster, I'll let my neighbors know they were open..."

Nah. Better to just close.
 
2012-11-12 10:55:10 AM
Now look, a toll's a toll and a roll's a roll. And if we don't get no tolls, then we don't eat no rolls.
 
2012-11-12 11:06:20 AM
Two wrongs don't make a right. The repair place installed the generator part and repaired the generator in working order under agreement. If the home owner refused to pay then the repair company cannot go onto the customers property without their consent (trespassing) and pull the part back out, in a sense repossessing it, only 3 days later, also, how does the home owner know that they are only pulling the part that they only replaced and if they were causing more damage to the generator in trying to pull it out quickly? There are laws regarding this, you don't see banks sending out repo guys to repo cars that are late on payment only 3 days. The customer may have been a douche and the company had a history with this customer not paying or paying really late before, but they still made the business decision to repair his generator.
 
2012-11-12 11:25:02 AM

corpselover: Lady Indica: demaL-demaL-yeH: Lady Indica: EnderWiggnz: i think the problem here is the "emergency pricing" surchage, and i hope that any icehole that price gouges is shown that its illegal. by the courts.

Except it was their regular emergency rates, the same shiat anyone pays if they want someone in the middle of the night, instead of waiting. They didn't gouge. And I felt the article explained their side very convincingly.

The ones that do however? I'm in full agreement with you.

Three days later?
The customer accepted the bill under protest, and the company hit them with yet another bill for the service they'd billed before and failed to complete. Then they yanked the part out of a working generator? That's a suing. With damages.

One of us is misreading the article, I think.

They came out in the night, in dangerous conditions, at rates LISTED BY THEM AT THEIR BIZ AND ON THEIR SITE. These rates have been in effect for years. The clients were informed of the rates BEFORE they came out (per the biz, client claims no...but really...they're going to go out at night in the storm, in dangerous farking weather without knowing the homeowner is even there or will accept the work? Give me a farking break. I don't buy it personally, I believe the biz here). They accepted the bill 'under protest' and agreed to have the work done.

They didn't refuse the work, accepting the emergency bill for diagnostic in the middle of a farking storm at night, and refusing repairs. They didn't refuse to have the part ordered.

They simply refused to pay. And the biz owner, who wasn't gouging by definition, and wasn't gouging in any sense IMHO, removed the part the owners refused to pay for and they had just installed.

NOW, that might be illegal. I don't know. But that doesn't even seem unreasonable to me. They've had problems with these asshats before with their bills. They're refusing to pay. It's an utter pain in the ass for any biz to take this shiat to small claims court, which i ...


I guess you weren't in NJ after the hurricane. I live 8 miles from Chester NJ, and the fact that the generator repair company was able to get to their house by noon on Tuesday is pretty amazing. I made it to work by noon on Tuesday only by taking my chainsaw with me, and cutting through trees across the road at two different points. And this was only after have to double back several times after being blocked by trees that were too dangerous to tackle.

This whole area was a disaster. I finally got power back to my home last night at 7PM.

Sounds like the retards in the article should have tested their generator before the storm.
 
2012-11-12 11:44:36 AM

fredklein: Or, you know, take the measly $0.05/gal loss, and make up for it by selling other stuff. Like stuff that is not price-controlled. See a possible hurricane coming? Go to the local big-box store(s) and buy out all their tarps/batteries/gas cans/generators/bulk water/etc/etc/etc. Then, stay open. Sure, you'll lose 5 cents on every gallon of gas, but when you're the only place they can get the above items (at a good markup), you'll make the money back and then some. You'll also get a good reputation- "That gas station is the only one that stayed open! And they had the batteries I needed for my flashlight! Next disaster, I'll let my neighbors know they were open..."


Until you get prosecuted for selling that stuff at a markup too.
 
2012-11-12 11:50:26 AM

fredklein: Your incentives are:

1) to sell your stock
2) to sell your stock for more them usual (hey, $40 more is $40 more)
3) to gain positive publicity
4) to help out your fellow man

If all that's not enough... stay home at let people suffer. Hopefully, they'll do the same for you someday.


Yep,all retailers should place themselves in a position to barely break even or even take a loss during a disaster. That makes it real worthwhile for them to leave their house, family, whatever and come sell their goods. A 10% markup during a disaster may not even cover the additional costs incurred-everything from extra shrinkage, breakage/vandalism, higher credit card processing fess (voice authorizations typically cost more); additional staff for demand, crowd control; additional staff costs for overtime/hazard pay, not to mention you don't have extra money to afford to pay distant suppliers to take the trouble and come in to resupply you.
 
2012-11-12 12:49:58 PM

pedrop357: fredklein: Your incentives are:

1) to sell your stock
2) to sell your stock for more them usual (hey, $40 more is $40 more)
3) to gain positive publicity
4) to help out your fellow man

If all that's not enough... stay home at let people suffer. Hopefully, they'll do the same for you someday.

Yep,all retailers should place themselves in a position to barely break even or even take a loss during a disaster. That makes it real worthwhile for them to leave their house, family, whatever and come sell their goods. A 10% markup during a disaster may not even cover the additional costs incurred-everything from extra shrinkage, breakage/vandalism, higher credit card processing fess (voice authorizations typically cost more); additional staff for demand, crowd control; additional staff costs for overtime/hazard pay, not to mention you don't have extra money to afford to pay distant suppliers to take the trouble and come in to resupply you.


mark everything up 10% and refuse credit debt ebt cards cash or gold only
 
2012-11-12 12:56:09 PM

pedrop357: fredklein: Your incentives are:

1) to sell your stock
2) to sell your stock for more them usual (hey, $40 more is $40 more)
3) to gain positive publicity
4) to help out your fellow man

If all that's not enough... stay home at let people suffer. Hopefully, they'll do the same for you someday.

Yep,all retailers should place themselves in a position to barely break even or even take a loss during a disaster. That makes it real worthwhile for them to leave their house, family, whatever and come sell their goods. A 10% markup during a disaster may not even cover the additional costs incurred-everything from extra shrinkage, breakage/vandalism, higher credit card processing fess (voice authorizations typically cost more); additional staff for demand, crowd control; additional staff costs for overtime/hazard pay, not to mention you don't have extra money to afford to pay distant suppliers to take the trouble and come in to resupply you.


Because goodwill doesn't have a positive return - read about the tire store upthread. And our supply chain is so inflexible that it breaks beyond repair. (It took three whole days to get the part.)

You have a sociopath's take on economics, so I'll give you a hint:
H. sap sap is a herd animal, and that company is going to pay a well-deserved heavy toll - in court and in their business - for violating the law on Tuesday and Friday.
 
2012-11-12 01:13:56 PM

pla: You do understand where the negotiating power of a union comes from, right?


Are you willing to consider employers' unions such as contract labor and staffing agencies?
 
2012-11-12 01:56:47 PM

demaL-demaL-yeH: Because goodwill doesn't have a positive return - read about the tire store upthread. And our supply chain is so inflexible that it breaks beyond repair. (It took three whole days to get the part.)


Goodwill does have a positive return, but it doesn't guarantee the bills will be paid and it doesn't pay the employees, suppliers, etc.
 
pla
2012-11-12 06:42:01 PM
sethstorm : Are you willing to consider employers' unions such as contract labor and staffing agencies?

Absolutely! Make no mistake, both sides will do their damnedest to screw the other.

But it all boils down to one side desperately needing something the other side has. Whether generator parts, or work, or labor. The presence of a hurricane just makes it short enough term that we can call that aspect of human nature "an exception" rather than "business-as-usual". But it really doesn't differ from the norm in any qualitative way.
 
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