Man watches gas prices rise mid-pump

April 15, 2011 2:58:02 PM PDT
New York City residents are dealing with a five-cent jump in gas prices this week, and New Jersey residents are dealing with an eight-cent gas jump.

One resident on Long Island has both of those beat. Motorist Robert Levulis' price shot up in the middle of him pumping his gas.

"I was livid. I said you can't do that." Levulis said. Levulis was at the Gulf gas station pumping his gas, but in the middle, the pump suddenly stopped. Minutes later, it started up again. There was just one problem- the price per gallon shot up. "It went from $3.85 to $3.91 right in front of my eyes." Levulis said.

What Robert Levulis has is a case of gas sticker shock like none other.

Levulis had the receipts of the gas hike to prove it. He showed the station manager how each transaction was just minutes apart, and on the second receipt the price per gallon suddenly rose six cents higher.

"I was furious." Levulis said. "I said you can't do that, but he just walked away and said new price."

Commissioner Madalyn Farley of Nassau County Consumer Affairs did not agree with what the Gulf station did to Levulis while he was pumping his gas. "I thought it was deceptive and unconscionable." Farley said.

In fact, Nassau County consumer affairs paid the gas station a visit today. The commissioner says the station could be cited for deceptive trade practices with a maximum fine of twenty-five hundred dollars.

"They're just not allowed to do that." Farley said. "They have to wait until the customer finishes before you shut your pumps down, before you change your price."

In New York, there are actually no regulations governing how many times a price is changed in a day. In New Jersey, it can only be done once per day.

As for the gulf station, the Nassau County Consumer Affairs made progress with their visit about Levulis' dispute. Commissioner Farley went with Levulis and spoke to the station manager. "He said he would refund the price difference." Farley said.

The manager told Farley and Levulis it was an honest mistake. The manager claimed that he did not see Levulis pumping. Therefore, he refunded the price difference- twenty-five cents and a special bonus. Levulis is now a satisfied customer. "He promised me a free fill up of gas." Levulis said.