Cuomo warns consumers of gas stations

John O'Brien Aug. 28, 2008, 2:20pm


NEW YORK (Legal Newsline) - New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo must be starting to think it is hard to find a good gas station.

For the second time in eight days, Cuomo made an announcement regarding credit card surcharges. Thursday, he told Labor Day travelers to be wary of bait-and-switch tactics this weekend.

"(T)he last thing New York City drivers need are gas stations hitting them with exorbitant prices for paying with a credit card," Cuomo said.

"Drivers across New York City need to be on the guard for gas stations that engage in deceptive practices to squeeze every last dollar out of their customers."

Cuomo has sent 43 cease-and-desist letters to stations in Long Island for the same alleged trick. 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. Cuomo 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.

Cuomo's New York City investigation shows that approximately one-fourth of gas stations engage in deceptive practices. He sent cease and desist letters to about 30 stores.

"Our investigation revealed that New York City is rife with 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 said."

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

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