AG Warns New York Car Washes Not to Gouge Prices Ahead of Pesach

By Hamodia Staff

State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein speaking about price gouging

NEW YORK – New York’s Attorney General issued a consumer alert Monday, urging New Yorkers to be cautious of potential discriminatory pricing practices at car washes ahead of Pesach. In previous years, there have been reports of car wash businesses in predominantly Orthodox Jewish communities in New York City raising prices by as much as 50 percent for Jewish customers seeking to rid their cars of chametz.

Attorney General Letitia James has previously sent letters to organizations representing car wash owners in New York to remind their members that any such business practice is illegal and should be reported her office. 

“Taking advantage of someone’s religious observances and practices is offensive, discriminatory, and absolutely unacceptable,” James said in a statement. “For millions of observant Jews in New York and beyond, Passover is an important holiday, and their preparations should be respected, not manipulated for profit. I urge any New Yorker who is concerned that they have been a victim of discriminatory behavior because of their religion, race, or background to contact my office immediately.”

Local elected officials joined in denouncing the price gouging.

“Let’s be clear,” State Assemblyman Simcha Eichenstein said in a statement. “Car wash establishments who shamelessly overcharge their Jewish customers for services before the Passover holiday are clearly discriminating against one religious community. That is unacceptable and illegal. Car wash operators, you have now been warned. Don’t do it.”

“The holiday of Passover is a joyous time for those celebrating,” said Assemblymember Daniel Rosenthal. “It can also be a stressful time as there is often a lot of preparation that goes into it. Unnecessary financial pressure should never be placed on any religious community by those seeking to profiteer.”

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