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Two more gas stations must pay for price gouging

Posted November 26, 2008

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— The owners of M&J Food Mart in Asheville and Shell To Go in McLeansville have agreed to repay customers for overpriced gas, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced in a release Wednesday.

M&J Food Mart operates a BP gas station at 615 Swannanoa River Road in Asheville. An investigation by the Attorney General’s office found M&J marked up its prices to as much as $4.99 per gallon of regular gasoline on Sept. 13 and up to $4.69 for a gallon of diesel on Sept. 13–15. The gas station was found to have overcharged consumers by more than $4,200.

Under an agreement signed by M&J, consumers who bought gas during the relevant time period are eligible for refunds. Consumers who paid by credit or debit card will receive refunds as credits to their accounts. Consumers who paid cash have 30 days to present a receipt or other proof of purchase to the station for a refund.

Shell To Go operates a Shell gas station at 1766 Mount Hope Church Road in McLeansville in Guilford County. An investigation showed the gas station was charging as much as $5.09 per gallon throughout Sept. 12. In total the station overcharged customers more than $2,700 from Sept. 12-17, the release stated.

Under an agreement signed by Shell To Go, the gas station will pay refunds to any consumer who presents a receipt or other proof of purchase for regular gasoline purchased on Sept. 12, and for mid-grade and premium gas purchase from Sept. 12-17. Consumers have 30 days to present their receipts to Shell To Go. Shell To Go must also use its best efforts to identify all credit and debit card customers who purchased gasoline during the relevant time period and credit refunds to their cards for the appropriate amount.

Both companies will pay $5,000 in civil penalties, which will go to North Carolina schools. They must also provide the Attorney General’s office with a sworn accounting of all refunds they make to consumers. Any amount that is unable to be returned to consumers will go to a special fund to provide energy assistance to people in Buncombe and Guilford counties.
In total refunds have been won from six gas station owners found to have overcharged customers.

Across the state, owners of 36 gas stations have been questioned about their wholesale prices and the retail prices they charged. Cooper said stations could not be cited under North Carolina's price-gouging law if they were simply passing along their higher prices.

10 Comments

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  • whatusay Nov 26, 2008

    Everyone knows that none of the overcharge will ever be reimbursed. What a joke to make tax payers think NC is doing something to help it's citizens. Forget reimbursing the people they ripped off, just take the overcharge + penalties and give it to the Dept Of Education.

  • teacher-mom Nov 26, 2008

    I do not get receipts for gas. I would be out of luck. Those people should be ashamed.

  • Tax Man Nov 26, 2008

    "Consumers who paid cash have 30 days to present a receipt or other proof of purchase to the station for a refund."

    How many people keep those cash gas receipts - or even get them? The stations should have to pay back those they know (credit/debit cards) and the unpaid amount should be given to a charity. The fines should be more in the range of $50,000, not a mere $5,000.

  • whatelseisnew Nov 26, 2008

    They should not be fined at all. If people are dumb enough to pay that much, they deserved to be ripped off.

  • Mom2two Nov 26, 2008

    I didn't particularly care for Roy Cooper and did not vote for him four years ago, but I sure did this go-round. Now there are real tax dollars at work for the common man.

  • Me-N-Nc Nov 26, 2008

    I do not wish for anyone to go out of business but they did not care if they took someones last $5.00 did they? What goes around comes around.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Nov 26, 2008

    They should be put in the public stocks and displayed in the town square.

  • OLD PIRATE 2 Nov 26, 2008

    Based on this information, they overcharged about 40 cent per gallon and did 5500 gallons that week. This is probably a small dealer operated store and will go out of business on the fine and 2700 pay back. I hope the AG will be watching the new construction projects the governor has promised as closely.

  • twc Nov 26, 2008

    Well, at least they're getting fined something although I agree it's not nearly enough!! I'm glad they'll be paying the fine when gas prices have fallen!

    Probation would be a welcome approach for this type of situation. But probation doesn't work in criminal cases.

  • Me-N-Nc Nov 26, 2008

    I am sorry but $5,000 dollars is nothing. How about that plus the interest they made from that dte until every last penny is returned, and probation for 5 years in regards to price gouging. Times are hard and things like this makes it even harder on everyone. I am sorry but $5,000 is not acceptable to me.