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Gas stations in Troy, Yadkinville to pay for price gouging

Release date: 10/23/2009

AG’s investigation results in more than $70,000 paid by 14 NC gas stations

Raleigh:  Two gas stations in Yadkinville and one in Troy have agreed to pay $15,000 to resolve price gouging allegations, bringing to more than $70,000 the total amount recovered through Attorney General Roy Cooper’s price gouging investigation.
 
LR&S, Inc. will pay $7,700 for alleged price gouging by its Four Sister Center and Yadkinville Food Mart gas stations in Yadkinville, and Steve Compton will pay $7,800 for alleged price gouging at Tire Pro of Troy, also known as Troy BP.
 
Including today’s agreements, Cooper and his Consumer Protection Division have won $71,000 in consumer refunds, energy assistance funds and civil penalties from 14 gas stations as part of a price gouging investigation begun in the fall of 2008. 
 
“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.”
 
The Attorney General’s Office began investigating possible price gouging by North Carolina gas stations after thousands of consumer complaints started pouring in on September 12, 2008. North Carolina’s law against price gouging was triggered that day by the declaration of an abnormal market disruption due to Hurricane Ike striking the Gulf Coast.
 
Cooper filed suit in October of 2008 against Steve Compton, owner and manager of Tire Pro, also known as Troy BP, located at 104 Courthouse Square in Troy, contending that the gas station raised its prices on September 12, 2008 from less than $4 a gallon to $5.99 per gallon. Fortunately, no consumers purchased gas at that inflated price, according to the Attorney General’s investigation.
 
To resolve price gouging claims, 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. [Read the settlement agreement with Compton.]
 
Cooper filed suit against LR&S in June of 2009 based on evidence that Four Sisters Center gas station at 513 E. Main Street and Yadkinville Food Mart at 909 N. State Street raised their retail prices for gas from under $4 a gallon to as much as $5.679 a gallon within a matter of hours on September 12, 2008.
 
That price hike increased the company’s mark up over wholesale costs by more than 400 percent, according to the Attorney General’s investigation. The stations dropped their prices later that day after the news media reported they were price gouging.
 
To resolve price gouging claims, LR&S 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. LR&S will also pay refunds to consumers who can provide a receipt or other proof showing that they were overcharged for gas on September 12. LR&S cannot identify these consumers through its credit and debit card processing system. [Read the settlement agreement with LR&S.]
 
 “We’ve sent a strong message that using a disaster to make an unfair profit isn’t tolerated here in North Carolina,” Cooper said.

[Read information about previous gas price gouging settlements.]


Contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413