Cooper, gas station file price-gouging settlement

Nick Rees May 1, 2010, 1:47pm


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Legal Newsline) - Tennessee Attorney General Bob Cooper has settled with a gasoline retailer in Knoxville over allegations of price gouging during Hurricane Ike in 2008.

The agreement with Weigel Stores, Inc., on behalf of the Commerce and Insurance Department's Division of Consumers Affairs, is pending before a Knox County chancellor.

Weigel, which denies any wrongdoing, said that it entered into the $57,000 agreement to avoid the expense of litigation.

The agreement resolves allegations that Weigel raised prices unlawfully for regular, mid-grade and/or premium unleaded gasoline at 33 Knoxville locations from Sept. 12-Sept. 18, 2008. Knoxville had some of the highest gasoline prices in the country during that time, Cooper says.

The company is alleged to have raised price to $3.95-$5.00 for regular unleaded, $3.91-$5.10 for mid-grade unleaded and $4.13-$5.23 for premium unleaded gasoline.

If approved, the agreement will be the largest gasoline pricing enforcement action against a single retailer in Tennessee history and will conclude the state's Hurricane Ike gasoline pricing enforcement sweep.

"We want to make sure that consumers and small businesses are getting a fair price at the pump," Cooper said.

Similar allegations were resolved last April with 16 companies and individuals, including 27 retail stations in Tennessee.

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