Kroger cited for gas price gouging

SUWANEE - The Kroger Fuel Center at 3651 Peachtree Parkway - along with stores in Cumming and Covington - was recently cited for gasoline price gouging after recent investigations by the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs.

The three stores were jointly fined $4,000, which will be placed in the state treasury. They will also pay restitution to consumers who can show receipts for their purchase of premium gas between Sept. 13 and Oct. 1.

According to a press release, the OCA began the investigations immediately after Gov. Sonny Perdue issued an Executive Order on Sept. 12.

"Under Georgia law, price-control statutes are activated upon the governor's declaration of a state of emergency," the press release reads. "During the declared state of emergency, businesses may not sell any goods or services necessary to protect the health, safety or property of citizens at prices higher than the prices at which those same goods or services were offered before the declaration of a state of emergency."

Jim Doyle, OCA administrator, said the agency received more than 2,000 questions and complaints about price gouging and shortages. Many of those cases are still being investigated.

To help prevent future violations, hundreds of stations were also made aware of the price-gouging statute.

"As I said during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the governor and his Office of Consumer Affairs take the issue of price gouging very seriously and will continue to be vigilant now and in the future," Doyle said in a press release.

As of Thursday, 61 investigations had been completed, with findings of gouging in 35 of those cases.

Cases were evaluated and settlements reached on a case-by-case basis.

For more information on pending cases, log onto www.consumer.ga.gov.