LITCHFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — A nearly nine-month investigation has resulted in fines and more for one Litchfield gas station.
The attorney general is cracking down on owners around Connecticut that didn’t lower prices on fuel during the state’s gas tax holiday.
Attorney General William Tong took swift action against a Litchfield Quick Mart gas station for not lowering gas prices by 25 cents per gallon, as required by law.
But owner Mohammed Rahman told News 8, he, unfortunately, got caught up in bad timing.
Rahman said he had just taken delivery of 8,000 gallons of fuel at a higher price the night before the gas tax holiday went into effect.
“Someone came and my guy called me and said, ‘Hey, boss, someone came and said why don’t they do the gas price?'” Rahman said.
Investigators for Tong’s office were notified of the price by an angry customer.
Agents then found that Rahman did not lower prices on April 1, as required by law. Instead, he waited a week.
Rahman said he got the notice he wasn’t in compliance a week later. He told News 8 that he was trying to recoup the fuel that he had already paid the higher price for.
Rahman’s business – licensed under Reeha LLC was fined $2,400.
The law doesn’t have a provision to allow retailers to continue charging the tax on gas they had in storage tanks before April 1.
“The gas tax holiday was enacted—and extended—to give families a break,” Tong’s office said in a statement to News 8. “Reeha failed to lower its price as required by law on April 1, inflating customer costs. When businesses take advantage of consumers, I won’t hesitate to enforce the law.”
The gas tax holiday has been extended through the end of the year. It will be phased back in via increments starting at the beginning of the year until May 1.
Tong’s office has received 320 complaints regarding gas prices since March. That includes for stations that didn’t lower gas prices according to the gas tax holiday, in addition to general price gouging complaints.
The state has opened 12 gas tax-related and 93 price-gouging investigations, resulting in three enforcement actions. Other investigations are ongoing.
Red “do not deliver” tags on Rahman’s gas nozzles. Customers are not allowed to pump gas until next month. He is having new underground storage tanks installed after the others expired.
Rahman said not only is he out the $2,500 in extra taxes from the high-priced gas he bought, but he is also out in attorney’s fees and that fine to the state.
Consumers may file complaints online using the Office of the Attorney General complaint portal.