Gas Station Who Gave Discounts to Elderly Ordered to Raise Prices
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
MERRILL, Wis. —
A service station that offered discounted gas to senior citizens and people supporting youth sports has been ordered by the state to raise its prices.
Center City BP owner Raj Bhandari has been offering senior citizens a 2 cent per gallon price break and discount cards that let sports boosters pay 3 cents less per gallon.
But the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection says those deals violate Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act, which requires stations to sell gas for about 9.2 percent more than the wholesale price.
Bhandari said he received a letter from the state auditor last month saying the state would sue him if he did not raise his prices. The state could penalize him for each discounted gallon he sold, with the fine determined by a judge.
Bhandari, who bought the station a year ago, said he worries customers will think he stopped the discounts because he wants to make more money. About 10 percent of his customers had used the discount cards.
Dale Van Camp said he bought a $50 card to support the local youth hockey program. It would have saved him about $100 per year on gas, he said.