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Queens Chronicle

Four more Queens gas stations investigated

AG suspects Sandy price gouging

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Posted: Thursday, December 6, 2012 10:30 am

Four more Queens gas stations have been notified by New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman that they will be subject to enforcement proceedings based on allegations of price gouging in the wake of Hurricane Sandy in October.

A statement released by Schneiderman on Thursday named the Getty station at 141-50 Union Turnpike in Flushing; a Gulf station at 60-90 Eliot Ave. in Maspeth; a Shell station at 92-10 Astoria Blvd. in East Elmhurst; and a Sunoco station at 18-84 Flushing Ave. in Ridgewood.

They were among 12 stations named in Tuesday’s release. Seven of the 25 gas stations Schneiderman has named in the last three weeks are in Queens.

“We are actively investigating the hundreds of complaints we’ve received from consumers of businesses preying on victims of Hurricane Sandy,” Schneiderman said. “There must be no tolerance for unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives.”

State business law loosely defines price gouging as charging “unconscionably excessive” prices for necessary consumer goods such as gasoline, food, generators, batteries, shelter and transportation during an unnatural disruption in the market, such as Hurricane Sandy.

Schneiderman is reviewing complaints that the Getty station charged as much as $4.99 per gallon in the post-Sandy period, while the Gulf station is accused of charging $4.79 for cash and $4.89 for credit.

The Shell station is accused of charging between $4.89 and $7.90 per gallon, while the Sunoco station is being investigated for prices as high as $7.25 per gallon.

Schneiderman said the investigations are based both on consumer complaints and “independently gathered” pricing information. Investigators may use so-called “before and after” pricing at the businesses as part of their inquiries.

Station owners are permitted to submit proof that any increases were necessitated by increased costs that were beyond their ability to control.

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