Primary tabs

  1. To charge more than the posted or advertised price. For certain industries, the government may regulate what an applicable rate should be, and any amount charged over that will be considered an overcharge. See 49 U.S.C. § 11705(b)(1). The term overcharge includes a duplicative charge—that is, charging twice for the same good or service. 49 C.F.R. § 1108.2(b)-(c). Complaints of overcharge most commonly occur within the context of public utilities (WA ST 81.04.230), petroleum sales (NJ ST 52:18A-209), freight transportation (49 U.S.C. § 11705(b)(1)), and rent (NY CPLR § 203-a). 

  2. When a criminal prosecutor tries to prosecute the accused for more serious crimes than the known facts support. It may be used as a tactic to intimidate the accused into accepting a plea bargain. One example of this is when a prosecutor attempts to use the same underlying facts to support two related criminal charges. For example, is a defendant is accused of beating up another individual, the prosecutor may attempt to prosecute them for assault and first-degree assault, two distinct crimes. However, the merger doctrine limits prosecutors’ ability to charge a defendant with two crimes if the underlying facts are too similar. 

[Last updated in August of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]