ARLINGTON (CBSDFW.COM) – One North Texan tells CBS11 she paid $85 for 12 gallons of gas during post-Harvey price gauging.
Bains Brothers Petroleum, owners of Texaco-branded gas stations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, faces legal scrutiny after two of its stations raised their gas prices to $6.99 per gallon during a temporary gas shortage experienced on Aug. 31.
A picture showing gas for $6.99 a gallon was taken at one of its Arlington gas stations. Now, the Texas Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the owners.
The state says Bains Brothers took advantage of drivers in the days after Harvey. The governor declared a state of emergency, making it illegal for companies to overcharge for necessities like hotels, food and gas. On August 30, a Bains Brothers gas station was charging $2.29 per gallon. The next day, prices more than tripled to $6.99.
On top of that, the price advertised was not always charged.
“Another customer began fueling only to discover that 12 gallons cost her $85.00, far in excess of the $4.29 per-galIon price advertised,” says the lawsuit. “After requesting a reimbursement for the price difference she was told by the clerk ‘It is what it is.’ ”
Other customers reported price changes while they were pumping. Angry customers asked for reimbursement and receipts, only to be denied, according to the attorney general’s office.
The owner of the station didn’t want to comment. If found guilty, he will have to pay a $20,000 penalty for each case of price gauging. If the customer defrauded is older than 65 years old, the penalty jumps to $250,000. The state is also asking the company to reimburse customers.