McCollum: Consumers say price-gouging taking place at gas stations

John O'Brien Sep. 15, 2008, 3:54pm


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Legal Newsline) - Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum is trying to get to the bottom of more than 700 complaints of gasoline price-gouging in the wake of Hurricane Ike.

A state of emergency had been declared for the storm, which slammed into Texas this weekend, forbidding retailers to unjustly increase the cost of several items, including gas. McCollum is issuing several subpoenas Tuesday.

"Price-gouging is strictly prohibited in Florida during a declared state of emergency and my investigators have been working throughout the weekend to determine whether Floridians are being taken advantage of," McCollum said.

"Passing along a justifiable increase in cost to consumers is legal, but we will not tolerate gouging for greed."

More than 350 complaints arrived during a four-day period, and as of Monday morning McCollum's office had received 738 complaints.

The first-term Republican sent subpoenas were sent to the corporate offices of Flying J, Dodge's Gas Stores, Valero and Pilot Travel Centers. Complaints against those companies have been particularly high, McCollum said.

The companies will have a week to comply. Gov. Charlie Crist had declared the state of emergency Sept. 5.

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

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