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Detroit Retailers Sued for Price Gouging

DETROIT ? Michigan has filed suit against three gas stations accused of "grossly inflating" fuel prices following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm said that civil lawsuits have been filed against Bobbie's Pineview Grocery in Midland, Mich., Bobbie's Point convenience store in Sanford, Mich. and Highland Mobil in Highland.

The stores are accused of failing to verify that all of the customers who were overcharged following Sept. 11 were reimbursed, and for failing to pay a fine as compensation for the consumers who were not reimbursed.

According to the complaint, the Bobbie stations charged as much as $3.29 per gallon, while the Highland Mobil station charged more than $2.49 per gallon for regular-grade gasoline.

The average price of gas on Sept. 12 was $1.73, state officials said.

Granholm accused a total of 49 gas stations of gas gouging violations and required each of them to initiate a program to pay back all of the customers who were overcharged. The stations were supposed to post a notice for at least 60 days and report their progress to the attorney general's office.

In addition to the three lawsuits filed this week, Granholm is considering cases against eight more stations. The state has collected about $15,000 in civil penalties, closed 25 cases and expects to close 13 others.
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