Five North Jersey gas stations overcharged customers -- including claiming that regular gas was premium -- state authorities said Monday.
In a settlement aimed at protecting consumers, Sukhdev Singh and his stations in Newark and Belleville will pay the state more than $138,000 collectively, and promised not to do it again, under an agreement that kept formal charges from being filed, Acting New Jersey Attorney General Andrew J. Bruck said.
Bruck identified the stations as:
- KP Fuel, 864 Mt. Prospect Ave, Newark;
- BK Fuel, 108 Bloomfield Ave, Newark;
- Millennium Fuel, 113-119 Franklin Street, Belleville;
- DS Fuel, 605 Washington Ave, Belleville;
- Power Service Center, 456 W. Market Street, Newark;
Regular gasoline in a vehicle designed to use premium "can self-ignite," the attorney general said. "This can lead to a persistent knocking sound in the engine and, in severe cases, can cause significant engine damage such as broken connecting rods, melted pistons, or other damaged components
“New Jersey drivers should be able to fill their gas tanks without getting taken for a ride,” Bruck added.
The agreement ends an investigation led by the state Division’s Office of Weights and Measures and Office of Consumer Protection that included unannounced fuel quality inspections at several gas stations between July 31, 2019 and September 25, 2020, the attorney general said.
Under the terms of consent order with the state, the stations agreed to "maintain weighing and measuring devices in proper operating condition at the gas stations, to exhibit all required documentation for inspection and examination, and to comply with all state and federal laws and regulations," Bruck said.
The more than $138,000 settlement includes $114,200 in civil penalties and $24,319 in investigative costs and attorneys’ fees, he said.
"Under the terms of the Order, $27,519 in civil penalties are suspended and will be automatically vacated after one year if the respondents comply with the terms of the [consent order]," Bruck said.
Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Koziar represented the state in court. Supervisor James Wilton from the Office of Weights and Measures and Investigator Roger Hines of the Office of Consumer Protection conducted the investigation. Inspector Bryan Thomson from the Office of Weights and Measures assisted.
Consumers who believe they have been cheated or scammed by a business, or suspect any other form of consumer abuse, can file an online complaint with the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs by visiting its website or by calling 1-800-242-5846 to receive a complaint form by mail.
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