Cuomo critical of Long Island gas stations

John O'Brien Aug. 21, 2008, 1:00pm


MINEOLA, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - From student loans to bad investments to child pornography to private lawyers earning public benefits, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has kept busy during his time in office.

Thursday, he revealed the results of another investigation, claiming that approximately one-third of Long Island gas stations surveyed have engaged in deceptive practices like wrongfully surcharging credit card customers.

"With summer gas prices reaching an all-time high, the last thing Long Island drivers need are gas stations hitting them with exorbitant prices for paying with a credit card," Cuomo said.

"Our investigation revealed that Long Island is a hotbed for gas stations that engage in deceptive practices where they display one price as a way to lure customers - and then charge them more at the pump."

Cuomo is sending 43 cease-and-desist letters. His office inspected about 120 gas stations in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

State law prohibits gas stations from imposing a surcharge on customers using a credit card. He also claims some stations attracted customers by offering lower prices but failed to disclose they were for cash customers only.

Customers who use credit cards already pay a premium to their credit card company. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has helped push through legislation that prevents gas station franchises from not offering discounts to cash customers. Rhode Island's Patrick Lynch has gotten in on the act, too.

"Today's gas prices dictate that fewer and fewer consumers have enough cash on-hand to pay the 'cash-only' price to fill up their tanks," Cuomo said.

"Therefore, it is inexcusable that business owners would use the lure of lower prices to entice customers and then rip them off. These stations are breaking the law and they must immediately stop these deceptive practices, or they will be subject to further action by my office."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at

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