States holds price gougers to account - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

States holds price gougers to account

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By Jennifer Emert - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Sixty-five Georgia gas stations have been fined as a result of price gouging during Gulf Coast hurricanes last fall. Of two thousand complaints, the state has resolved 91 cases.

In southwest Georgia 22 stations have now been cited by the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs and in many cases they owe you the difference in price.

AAA estimates more motorists will hit the road this year for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend.

While motorists are paying about a $1.50 less this year to travel, it's still about 25¢ more than they were paying several weeks ago, and after getting gouged last fall many are suspicious about the recent price spike.

It's the last thing many motorists wanted to see, gas prices climbing again. In southwest Georgia, prices have jumped nearly 40¢ in the last several weeks.

"You don't have that in your budget," said Harry Johnson.

"Every time the price of gas goes up that's cuts my profit down," said Taxi Driver Roosevelt Walker.  

It's nothing compared to what southwest Georgia saw last fall when prices jumped above four dollars. Now several stations are paying for not being completely honest with customers.

The state cited 22 southwest Georgia stations, 16 in their most recent release.

In Thomasville, Granny's Country Store, The L&G Food Mart numbers two and three, Hud's Mini Mart, A Citgo Station and the J&P Shop and Stop were fined and owe customers restitution. It's got some customers mad.

"Why should you shop at a place that's taking advantage of something like that?" asked Kenneth Norris.

Three stations in Cairo including the L&G Food Mart, Hud's Mini Mart and Quick Buys also made the list along with Tank & Tummy's in Pelham.

"It's unfair," said Claudette Henry. "You know we all work hard for a living and we shouldn't have to pay out all that money just for gas."

In Donalsonville and Bainbridge, two Mr. Pipps stations, the Petro South and Bishop's Travel Center were fined with the BP in Douglas and One Stop number three in Valdosta. All of the stations are supposed to post signs offering customers a refund, but some say it's not worth the hassle to find the receipts needed to get it nearly a year later.

"I probably won't because to me it would just be more of a headache trying to go through the process of getting just a few dollars of your money back," said Norris.

The state is still investigating some cases and has put hundreds of stations on notice about the price gouging statues to avoid future violations.

During the high prices last fall the state received more than two thousand complaints. Of the 91 cases investigated, 26 stations didn't price gouge customers.

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