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Attorney General of Virginia

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Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General

Mark Herring
Attorney General

202 North Ninth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219

 

For media inquiries only, contact:  
Charlotte Gomer, Director of Communication
Phone: (804)786-1022 
Mobile: (804) 512-2552
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ATTORNEY GENERAL HERRING HOLDS GAS STATION ACCOUNTABLE FOR PRICE GOUGING

~ Richmond-based 7 Heaven BP allegedly raised its prices on gasoline to as much as $6.99 per gallon during the Colonial Pipeline emergency ~

RICHMOND – Attorney General Mark R. Herring is holding Richmond-based 7HC Inc. d/b/a 7 Heaven BP accountable for alleged violations of the Virginia Post-Disaster Anti-Price Gouging Act. The agreement relates to allegations that the gas station on Williamsburg Road in Richmond charged unconscionable prices on gasoline, a necessary good, after Governor Northam declared a state of emergency on May 11, 2021 in response to a temporary shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline, which supplies motor fuels and other petroleum-based products to a large portion of the east coast.

 

This is the third enforcement action Attorney General Herring has taken regarding price gouging following the Colonial Pipeline emergency. Additionally, he has taken enforcement actions against price gouging in relation to the state of emergency declaration in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

 

“It’s unfortunate that bad actors will take advantage of emergencies, natural disasters, or other times of crisis just to line their own pockets,” said Attorney General Herring. “My Consumer Protection Section has been committed to pursuing and investigating allegations of possible price gouging, and we will continue to take action against those businesses that have preyed on consumers and overcharged during an emergency. Virginians should never have to worry about paying too much for gas and other necessary goods during a crisis when they are focused on taking care of themselves and their families.”

 

 

Attorney General Herring’s complaint alleges that, during the ten days immediately preceding the Governor’s emergency declaration, the gas station was charging $2.649 per gallon for regular unleaded fuel, $3.199 per gallon for plus (midgrade) fuel, and $3.549 per gallon for premium unleaded fuel. Then, in the evening of May 11, immediately after the state of emergency was declared, the business elevated its prices on all grades of gallons of gasoline several times – eventually topping out at $6.99 per gallon on regular and premium gasoline. A violation of Virginia’s price gouging law is also a violation of the Virginia Consumer Protection Act.

 

Under the terms of the settlement, 7 Heaven BP agrees to be enjoined from engaging in further violations of Virginia’s price gouging law and the Virginia Consumer Protection Act. The business also has agreed to pay $2,000 in attorneys’ fees and has distributed $2,858.70 in refunds to 152 consumers through credit card reimbursements and direct cash refunds. Consumers who purchased gasoline from 7 Heaven BP on May 11, and who have not received a refund, should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section. Complaints should include documentation of the purchase and be submitted to the Attorney General’s Office by no later than February 22, 2022.

 

The settlement, in the form of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance, has been filed for approval with the Richmond City Circuit Court.  

 

During Governor Northam’s state of emergency that was issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Attorney General’s Office received more than 500 complaints and e-mails alleging possible price gouging activity and sent more than 150 investigative letters to businesses. Investigation of these complaints largely revealed that many price increases occurred further up the supply chain with manufacturers or distributors that were beyond the reach of the state’s price gouging laws, and this prompted Attorney General Herring to successfully seek amendments to the state’s price gouging law during the 2020 General Assembly special session.

 

Additionally, in April 2020, Attorney General Herring led a national effort to address price gouging in the PPE supply chain, urging 3M as one of the largest manufacturers of PPE, particularly masks, to do more to address price gouging within its supply and distribution chains that was causing hospitals and healthcare providers to pay exorbitant prices for PPE.

 

If a Virginia consumer suspects they are a victim of price gouging, they can call the Consumer Protection Hotline or download a complaint form from the Attorney General's website and submit it in-person, by mail, or by fax. Consumers are encouraged to keep any relevant documentation and submit copies with their complaint. If consumers believe they are a victim of price gouging specific to motor fuel they should file complaints with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

 

Consumers can contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section for information or to file a complaint:

  • By phone: (800) 552-9963
  • By email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Online Contact Form/Online Complaint Form

 

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