Price gouging complaints flood into NC Attorney General’s Office amid gas shortage


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The latest list from the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office lists ore than 840 complaints state-wide of gasoline price gouging during the pipeline shutdown.

CBS 17 looked at some of the highest gas prices complaints to the AG’s office in Wake County.

RELATED: What is price gouging? NC attorney general explains what warrants a report during gas shortage

CBS 17 wants to emphasize — none of the merchants listed have been charged with any wrongdoing by any law enforcement agency at this point.

In North Carolina, price gouging is defined as “an unreasonably excessive price increase.”

However, the term “excessive” depends on a lot of circumstances.

Driver Tamiko Rodriguez said for her, the upper limit she would pay for a gallon of gas in these circumstances would “Probably $3.50 a gallon for mid-level.”

Carlos Alvarez said he would pay “Up to $4 or $5 a gallon. I have to go to work.”

The attorney general’s list indicates Mario’s Deli and Grill in Wendell has 14 complaints lodged against it by customers who said the station was charging between $4.59 and $4.89 a gallon for premium.

CBS 17 observed no posted price on signs at the station, however the pumps showed $2.99 for regular and $3.24 for premium.

RELATED: NC’s price gouging law goes into effect with pipeline’s shutdown

When Consumer Investigator Steve Sbraccia went inside to ask about the prices, the clerk called the owner who said over the phone “There was nothing to talk about and to please leave.”

On the other side of Wendell, two people complained Moe’s Variety was selling mid-grade at $3.89 and regular at $3.50.

The posted price on a sign said regular was selling for $3.29.

The owner’s son said they never charged the higher prices.

“All I got is 87 (octane) and the price is $3.29,” said Andy Ramani.

On the other side of the county, someone complained T. R. Ashworth in Fuquay-Varina was charging $4.55 for regular.

The posted sign was for $2.69 and the pump price matched the sign. Premium was listed as $3.99 a gallon at the pump.

The manager said they ran out of gas on Tuesday and never changed $4.55 a gallon for regular calling the complaint “laughable.”

She said regular had been selling for $2.69 all along.

The attorney general’s office will investigate each and every case that comes to its attention and CBS 17 reiterates we are not accusing anybody in this story of any wrongdoing, we were just looking for explanations.

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