LANSING (WWJ) – As Michigan drivers deal with a spike in gas prices, the state is warning gas stations against any attempt to take advantage of consumers by price gouging or price-fixing.
Attorney General Bill Schuette also sent a letter to BP, asking for details regarding the a refinery shut down that has sent gas prices soaring.READ MORE: Local Health Departments Prepare As Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids 5-11 Near Approval
“As Labor Day weekend approaches, the effects of an outage at a major Indiana petroleum refinery combined with additional factors, means Michigan families are seeing an increase in the price at the pump. These circumstances do not constitute a free pass for gas stations to gouge consumers,” Schuette said in a statement. “We will not tolerate any unscrupulous behavior that violates Michigan law when it comes to gouging and price-fixing.”READ MORE: Doctor Accused Of Hoarding Dead Kittens In Her Freezer
Under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, a retailer may not charge a price that is “grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold.” Anti-trust laws also prohibit gas stations from entering into agreements to arbitrarily fix prices in unison.
“What consumers need to keep an eye out for is a cost at one particular station that is grossly higher than all the other stations in the area,” Andrea Bitely, an AG spokesperson, told WWJ. “If everyone is charging $2.75 and one station is charging $5.35, definitely give us a call at our Consumer Protection Division and let us know what’s going on.”MORE NEWS: Michigan Reports 7,867 New COVID-19 Cases, 142 Deaths
If consumers have verifiable evidence of a retailer charging a price “grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold,” they are encouraged to contact the Attorney General’s office at 1-877-765-8388 or file an online complaint at www.michigan.gov/ag.