N.C. settles with three gas stations

by Nick Rees |
Oct. 26, 2009, 1:14pm

Cooper

RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - Three North Carolina gas stations have agreed to pay $15,000 to resolve allegations of price gouging resulting from an investigation by Attorney General Roy Cooper over price inflation following Hurricane Ike.

LR&S, owner of the Four Sister Center and Yadkinville Food Mart gas stations, both in Yadkinville, N.C., will pay $7,700 to resolve the gouging allegations. Steve Compton, owner of Tire Pro of Troy, also know as Troy BP, in Troy, N.C., will pay $7,800 from the alleged gouging.

"A crisis shouldn't be an excuse to rip off consumers," Cooper said. "People let us know that they were getting gouged at the pump, and we took action to make violators pay."

Cooper filed suit against Compton in Oct. 2008, alleging that Cooper's station raised prices from less than $4 to $5.99 per gallon on Sept. 12, 2008. Cooper said that no consumers purchased gas at the inflated price.

To resolve the allegations, Compton will pay $2,000 to an energy assistance fund, $5,000 in civil penalties to North Carolina schools and $800 to cover the costs of the investigation.

Cooper's suit against LR&S, filed in June, alleges that Four Sister Center and Yadkinville Food Mart raised the retail price of their gasoline from below $4 to as hugh as $5.679 a gallon on Sept. 12, 2008, a mark-up over wholesale costs of more than 400 percent.

Following news reports about gouging later that day, the stations dropped their prices.

LR&S, to resolve the price gouging claims, will pay $2,000 to an energy assistance fund, $5,000 in civil penalties to North Carolina public schools and $700 to cover the costs of the investigation.

In addition, consumers with a receipt or other proof showing that they were overcharged for gasoline that day will be provided refunds.

"We've sent a strong message that using a disaster to make an unfair profit isn't tolerated here in North Carolina," Cooper said.

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