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Katonah Gas Station Cited for Price Gouging

The Mobil Gas station in Katonah is one of 25 stations being investigated by the New York State Attorney General.

A Katonah gas station was one of three in Westchester notified by state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman for allegedly price gouging following Superstorm Sandy.

A consumer reported the Mobil on Katonah Avenue as selling gas at $4.79 per gallon in the days following the storm, according to the attorney general's office. Eleven additional stations in New York City and Long Island were also cited.

Schneiderman said his office will start enforcement proceedings against them for violations of the New York State Price Gouging statute in the wake of Sandy. These are the latest notices to be handed out, following letters sent to 13 gas stations earlier this month, including one in Harrison and one in White Plains—bringing the total number of targeted retailers so far to 25.

"Our office will continue to take enforcement actions against price gougers because ripping off New Yorkers is against the law," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "We are actively investigating the hundreds of complaints we've received from consumers of businesses preying on victims of Hurricane Sandy. There must be no tolerance for unscrupulous individuals who take advantage of New Yorkers trying to rebuild their lives."

The Attorney General said there will be other notifications coming as the investigation into consumer complaints continues.

Among the accused stations is a Mobil station in the Bronx where a consumer waiting in line for over an hour was just three cars from the pump when she was told that she would be charged $50 for five gallons of gasoline—$10 per gallon—compared to nearby stations charging $3.95 a gallon.

The investigations are based upon a review of both consumer complaints and independently-gathered pricing information, Schneiderman said.

If you believe you are a victim of price gouging or a post-hurricane scam contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Helpline at 800-771-7755 or find a complaint form online at: www.ag.ny.gov

Related stories:

Inspectors Checking for Price Gouging at Gas Stations

NY State Probes Post-Hurricane Sandy Gas Price-Gouging Complaints

Westchester Gas Price Gouging Accusations After Sandy

Gasoline Price Gouging? Tell Patch

Liam Brennan November 30, 2012 at 02:34 AM
Having driven for a living around the tri-state area for many years, I've noted the towns that generally have the higher-priced stations. Katonah is one of several. It's premature to brand that Mobil station as a gouger- they've always been on the high side. It's possible the owner had to take on additional employees to handle the overwhelming, non-stop increase in customers, and to assist in crowd control. Whether it's Black Friday, or impending storm, businesses have to take measures to handle the chaos that generally follows. As long as the business isn't the only one for miles around, they don't double their usual price, and the product isn't necessary for survival, a business can charge whatever they want. They're not in business for charitable purposes- that's a matter of choice for the business owner. The customer has the choice to go elsewhere. Owners are human, susceptible to imprudent decisions if the opportunity presents itself. A customer's best defense is a good offense, especially if advance warning was given, as in the case of Sandy. Get your house in order- get the items you need before you need them. You've all seen the lists of items necessary to weather storms and power outages- it's on YOU to pay attention. Take responsibility for yourself and your family- don't rely on others to behave as they would in normal circumstances- you'll probably be disappointed.
Dan November 30, 2012 at 02:56 AM
It sounds like Liam owns that Mobil station. Nice try.
Iggy Blume November 30, 2012 at 01:55 PM
That gas station has been gouging us for years, so why should this time be any different? A study a couple years ago found that this gas station - and the 2 other ones in Katonah that all fix their prices together - were the highest in the county. Not among the highest, but THE highest.
Liam Brennan November 30, 2012 at 07:49 PM
Heaven forbid! I wouldn't own a station if one were given to me. I've also worked in a couple of them, full- and part-time, over the last few decades. I'm familiar with the pros and cons of ownership. These days, at least in NY, it's way more cons than pros, puns somehat intended. The average person might be flabbergasted to know the financial pitfalls awaiting today's station owner, especially the old-timey ones. Between the taxes, regulations, renovations and ever-present fines, accountability to the Feds, the state, the county and the town, normal overhead, the constant threat of burglaries and robberies, with a normal profit margin of about 10-15% on your main product, the expectation of providing free restrooms, directions, air, gas cans, parking- it's a business that practically begs to be abused by unscrupulous people, and abandoned by those with scruples. And it's an ugly, unpleasant place to be in times of crises, on both sides of the pump, especially with today's internet-powered flash mobs. Hopefully, technology will bring a greater variety of practical fuels to power vehicles, available in a wider range of outlets, giving people more choices and thereby ensuring reasonable competitive pricing. Although, given man's behavioral history, we can probably expect more of the same, albeit with different products. The more things change...
Liam Brennan December 01, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Well, you can't be gouged if you're not there for the gouging. Best to get your gas in Kisco- everything's cheaper there. Less convenient, more crowded, but even cheap comes with a price. I loved my years in Katonah, but I don't make the pay to play there anymore. The best thing to do is compromise. If you have a relationship with one of the stations-say, you like the mechanic- then gas up there every two or three tankfuls, without bitching at the owner every time about his gas price. Play the game. Keep the good mechanic- they're hard to come by, and invaluable when you or your family needs one. As an employee in a similar station down-county, we never expect our regulars to buy exclusively from us, but throw the old dog a bone occasionally and watch that tail wag!
Bella December 02, 2012 at 05:25 AM
Liam is ignorant. I've lived in katonah for twenty years and never once put gas.
Bella December 02, 2012 at 05:25 AM
And I never will! Mr.S is doing a great job, thank you!!

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