Gas Stations Must Respond To Claims Of Price Gouging

Are Business Cashing In On Gas Shortage?

NORTH CAROLINA -- AG Roy Cooper issued subpoenas to two more gas stations Wednesday as part of an investigation over price gouging, bringing the total number to seven. 

Subpoenas for a gas station in Indian Trail and one in Raleigh were issued after complaints were filed claiming the stations charged $4.99 or more per gallon for gas. 

The Consumer Protection Division is investigating about 1,300 complaints so far. 

As of Tuesday evening, five businesses had been subpoenaed in total over claims of price gouging--or charging too much in a time of crisis. Four of those businesses are located in the Triad.

Gas stations in Winston-Salem, Stokesdale, Guilford County and Smithfield were subpoenaed. A wholesaler in Guilford County also received a subpoena.

According to the Attorney General's Office, consumers reported three of the gas stations were charging $3.99 or more for a gallon of gas. Drivers claimed the gas station in Guilford County was charging $4.50.

The businesses must now provide documentation to the Attorney General's Office showing costs charged by suppliers.

There is no specific price or percentage increase that defines price gouging. The Attorney General's Office said claims must go through thorough, sometimes lengthy investigations.

If the Attorney General's Office determines a business was price gouging, the business could have to pay up to a $5,000 fine. Consumers with a receipt or credit card statement from their purchase would be eligible for a refund.

According to the Attorney General's Office, more subpoenas are likely later this week.

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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