Local News

Two more gas stations must pay for price gouging

Posted November 26, 2008 2:59 p.m. EST
Updated November 26, 2008 4:21 p.m. EST

— 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.