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Orlando Gas Gouging

Written by Nickel - 33 Comments

I just saw a news report about a gas station near the Orlando, FL airport charging over $4/gallon for gas — the average price in the area at the time was $2.87/gallon. As it turns out, they hadn’t posted their prices on any signs, and were apparently hoping that motorists would start filling up without looking at the price on the pump. And guess what? It worked. A number of people just started pumping and then had a rude awakening when it came time to pay.

[Source: Orlando News-Press]

Published on April 24th, 2007 - 33 Comments
Filed under: Automotive, Energy

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33 Responses to “Orlando Gas Gouging”

  1. 1
    Blain Reinkensmeyer Says:

    Maybe it is just me, but I always look at the sign before pumping! $4 is a total bad beat though, I wonder if those customers will come back for more next week?

  2. 2
    Blaine Moore Says:

    That sounds like a great way to make a couple dollars today and lose a customer forever.

    We have a membership to BJ’s, and the other day I was having trouble getting it to remember my scanned membership card all the way through pumping. I was wondering how many people think they are getting a deal on the gas but wind up paying an extra 10 to 15 cents per gallon because they don’t notice that their card (even though scanned) had turned itself off before they actually started pumping.

    Thankfully, I’m anal like that and noticed before letting any gas out of the hose so I had a $0 sale and then the normal sale.

  3. 3
    Kurt Says:

    “a gas station near the Orlando, FL airport”

    That answers your question. They are getting people returning their rental cars who would probably pay $5 a gallon if they let the rental car place refill it. This seems slimy at the least.

  4. 4
    Henry @ Binary Dollar Says:

    I heard gas was going to hit $4 anyway. I bet they’d charge $5+ if that ever happened.

  5. 5
    CHARLIE CRIST Says:

    I STAYED ON TOP OF THE OIL COMPANYS BEFORE I BECAME GOVENOR , NOW SCREW ALL OF YOU…

  6. 6
    Fellowes Says:

    I do think there are some rather obvious pricing irregularities these days. Here in Washington State, it sounds like there is going to be an investigation as to why Bellingham, a college town near the US/Canada border typically has prices $0.25 – $0.30 higher than the statewide average. Lately, it seems that the prices change twice per day, once in the morning and once in the evening, all for gas that is still in the tanks. To me, that seems like gouging

  7. 7
    Crediteria.com Says:

    I live in Canada and we are paying about $4.60 a gallon. $4 sounds like cheap gas to me.

    Yeah, I keep my Chevy Avalanche parked a lot!

  8. 8
    nickel Says:

    Interesting. $4.60 Canadian is still roughly $4.10 USD, so it sounds like you’re paying a good bit.

  9. 9
    JMelvin Says:

    It’s the first gas station you come to off 528 The bee-line on SR 426 Semeron Blvd. As of last night they were still $1.20 higher than any other station in the area at $4.19.. The receipt has Suncoast Energys, 528 Butler Nat’l Dr., Orlando FL. 32822, but this is not the location of the pumps. No prices posted, ripping people off…I really don’t understand how they keep getting away with this…

  10. 10
    Iheight Wieners Says:

    In response to #9, they “get away with it” because the price is posted at every pump above the grade selection button. No they don’t post the price of gas on the road, but they don’t list their milk and egg prices either.

    If you can’t read the price posted at the pump, how are you supposed to notice it on the road?

    “Ripping people off” is when you post one price and then charge another. This is not happening.

    If you don’t like the price at Starbuck’s go to a 7-Eleven.

  11. 11
    John Kostenbader Says:

    In response to #10…your way off the mark. There is such a thing is business ethics and responsibility to the public. The owner of this gas station is taking advantage of the tourist life blood of Florida. What he is doing is unethical and despite the prevailing laws of Florida regarding “gouging” it is gouging in my opinion.

  12. 12
    Mike Rogers Says:

    There is no defending the person who owns this gas station. He has been ripping people off for years and I’m sure he is a multi millionaire because of it. He is the closest station to the airport as well as the car rental places and he is taken full advantage of the tourist that wants to drop iff their car and get to the airport. It’s unfortunate that the state of Florida allows places like this to be in business and rip off the very person who is spending a ton of money at the theme parks in Orlando???

  13. 13
    Jason Says:

    From the Orlando Better Business Bureau

    “Based on BBB files, this company has a satisfactory record with the Bureau. Any complaints processed by the Bureau in its three-year reporting period have been resolved. The number and type of complaints are not unusual for a company in this industry.

    To have a “Satisfactory Record” with the Bureau, a company must be in business for at least 12 months, properly and promptly address matters referred to it by the Bureau, and be free from an unusual volume or pattern of complaints and law enforcement action involving its marketplace conduct. In addition, the Bureau must have a clear understanding of the company’s business and no concerns about its industry.
    Consumers have advised that gas prices at this station are higher than average. The company has responded the higher prices charged are needed to absorb some of the higher costs of building in the location and meeting higher stringent standards of Lee Vista Center; street price signage is not permitted. The price per gallon is digitally posted at every pump and the consumer can make a decision prior to purchase. Company is in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.”

    So it seems that they pay their dues to the BBB

  14. 14
    david savoie Says:

    I purchased gas yesterday at Suncoast Energys in Orlando exactly the way they intended–Returning a vehicle early in the morning–no prices posted and had started pumping before I realized the price $4.499 per gallon. They should be tarred and feathered!!

  15. 15
    Jyoti Seth Says:

    As I was looking on how to file a complaint regarding a gas station near Orlando Airport charging $4.49 for the gas price per gallon for regular unleaded self-serve, I am surprised to see many people have the same experiencefor such a long time and authorities have not done anything about it. Can someone please tell me if there is place where I can fomally send my complaint.

  16. 16
    Jon Says:

    I first noticed this in February 2007. Pulled my rental car up to the pump, took one look at the prices and proceed 1.5 miles down Semoran Blvd to 7-Eleven where I paid a market rate for gas. One of my co-workers who routinely flies in and out of MCO said he never noticed this (oops…) but that he will also drive the extra 1.5 miles to 7-Eleven from now on. When I returned in 2008 I didn’t even bother to stop at the Suncoast station.

  17. 17
    Eric Says:

    They are still charging exuberant prices, almost 2 dollars a gallon more than anywhere else and yes, still no sign. I started getting gas and stopped once I realized the price, but it took me a couple double takes which in that period ran me quite a bit of money for no gas. It is an example of unethical business practices, which do not always include anything illegal. Merely two miles down the road the other stations are normally priced, but then again, they also clearly advertise their prices. Either way, Suncoast Engergys has been doing this for awhile and I am sure will continue. Here are the owners, Raymond Pannone, Charles Lechtworth and Bob Barnes.

  18. 18
    Tom Says:

    I was just there on the 9th and they are at $5.49 a gallon. Still there today I called to check. I filed a complaint with the Florida Division of Consumer Services. Since there is now a declared state of emergency they can hopefully investigate these scumbags. I was caught up in the same situation running late for a flight and had to fill my rental. I will NEVER make that mistake again.

  19. 19
    lawrence Says:

    Just in orlando this past weekend.Same gas station at it again.$5.50 per gallon no prices posted.When i confronted employee thinking it was a miss print he laughed.We most report them untill something is done.

  20. 20
    John Prescott Says:

    Following is my complaint to the FL Attorney General:
    Paid $65 for fill-up at $5.499 per gallon on 5Oct08. Filed complaint with the fed web hotline and the Orlando BBB (who wrote back saying they would do nothing as it would be duplicating the fed complaint effort). In my view, this is price gouging because 1) the product quality does not warrant the high price, 2) advertisements at the station attempt to portray the product as unique, and 3) no external price billboard exists. The point of no billboard is to lure victims where they will waste time (and gas) exiting the main road, manuevering though the station, exiting the car, reading instructions, etc before the price is noticed. Any potential victim under a time constraint will now risk either missing a deadline or paying this morally criminal price. Also any elderly person with poor eyesight or capabilities would be easy prey for this scam. Online comments from other victims also state a similar hand-washing response from the BBB. I would be interested to know if the owner of this station has any “influence” with local elected officials and/or the BBB/Chamber of Commerce.

  21. 21
    ann guinan Says:

    It is November and we were there today and could not believe the gumption these people have to charge $4.99 per gallon. Luckly we did notice the price and headed down the road to 7-eleven. Lets get this complaint out to trip advisor – dont use Suncoast at Orlando International!!!!

  22. 22
    Carl Says:

    I have news for you, as of 11/3, they are still ripping people off with $5/gal gas!
    This is the last station before the airport and so anyone renting a car, will stop there before returning the car. There is no time to go looking anywhere else. When I said this to Bob Barnes the manager he agreed. So with the little digital display on the pump, and your haste to catch your flight, it’s easy to get ripped off. By the time that you realize the price, they got you! And where else are you going to go?
    THIS IS A BLIGHT ON ORLANDO AREA TOURISM!!!

    I won’t ever go there again. If this is how they price their gas, I don’t even want to see what they charge for a bottle of water!!!

  23. 23
    Santhony Says:

    I saw this yesterday. It is positioned perfectly across from the hertz and Thrifty car rental lots. When you return the car you have to fill the tank and it looks like a dream come true to find a gas station right across the street. I saw the price and left to get gas 1.2 mile down the street for 1.72/gallon. I told the hertz people about it and they said they have reported them over and over again but nothing ever happens. We will see about that!

  24. 24
    Bill Ripley Says:

    I paid $4.99 tonight for gas. I caught it about 3 gallons into the fill-up. I asked the attendents and they gave me the owner’s name and phone number, but I guess it does not do any good to waste my time. Prevailing prices are roughly $1.50 per gallon, so they are making $3.50 per gallon ($50 per tankfull) of extra profit. I did feel good when I waved off 2 cars (potential customers) that were fixing to fill up their rent cars with their blood-gas.

    How do these people sleep at night? Surely there has to be a law prohibiting this? Maybe some lawyer can get them for racketeering or tax evasion.

  25. 25
    Lee G. Says:

    In response to # 10 .The price is not posted on the pump . The selection space is blank until after octane choice has been made .If you don’t catch it right away you can rack up a hefty bill or hardly get any gas at all for what you may plan to pay .

  26. 26
    Mike Montgomery Says:

    My wife and I recently return form a convention in Orlando. The weather was just spectacular and the convention was great. The hotel we stayed in the Hilton could not of been better. Unfortunately it was all overshadowed by a gouging from a local gas station when we were leaving. We were returning our rental car and required to fill the gas tank. We pulled into SunCoast Energy on 5928 Butler National Dr. near the airport. When I filled up the rental it came to $50 for 12 gallons. I was shocked to say the least. When I looked around there were no signs for price. It was only marked on a small window on the pump that was almost impossible to read. I have traveled all over he US for 40 plus years and never had such a experience. I think the City of Orlando or the people would not be proud of the practices of this company and how it reflects on it reputation. Also I did complain to the BBB and the letter was almost exactly as posted by Jason Nov. 30, 2007.

  27. 27
    Bill Ripley Says:

    Same thing happened to me. I received a letter from the BBB that justified his actions. Obviously, they are “in the tank” with the lowdown bum that runs the gas station. It is a shame to see the BBB come down on the side of the bad business practices and not protect the consumer. Sort of like the fox watching the hen-house.

    Here is what I did. On my last 3 trips to Orlando, I camped out in the parking lot for 30 minutes to 1 hour and warned the customers. I know that I cost the business at least a thousand dollars in lost “ill gotten gains”. It did not help much, but it made me feel a lot better. By the way, every person that I told about the prices did not buy gas. I pointed them to the 7-11 down the street.

    That is all we will be able to do. With a spineless BBB and a slimey business man, we dont have many other choices. Join with me in the revolt.

  28. 28
    Steven Skalitzky Says:

    Suncoast Energys continue to gouge, average street price was under $2 per gal, but they were charging $3.99. Its is legal, since it appears complaints have been filed with the Attorney General and there has been no apparant action. Its is BUYER BEWARE! It is condoned by the Better Busisness Bureau, since they have rec’d complaints and still rate the establishment B+, and continue to spew the same response since 2007. There are complaints previous to this when it was a Chevron dealeship. It is just plain disgusting. I would assume this operation is frequented by people prior to returning their rental car on departure from Orlando. Heck of time to leave a bad taste in one’s mouth after a otherwise good holiday.

  29. 29
    Sunderraju Says:

    Well, folks, I’m the latest in tourists who have got shafted in Florida – looks like I won’t be visiting there any time soon. Suncoast Enersys got me for $4.20/gal, when the market was $2.40 – and yes, I was returning my rental car to Hertz across the road, who wanted to charge me $7.19. Is it possible these scum have a tie-in with folks at Hertz? That would be a nice bit of pocket change for all involved! I did see 6 people who filled up and drove across to Hertz, so it does seem to be a well organized screwing operation – without even vaselene!!!

  30. 30
    Gary S Says:

    Yes, I too have been gouged by this station on my repeated trips in and out of the Orlando Airport. It is incomprehensible they can charge what they do. Even after paying off their friends in the BBB they’re still way ahead of the game! I didn’t realize there were more gas stations down the road. From now on (I’ll be there in 2 weeks), I’ll travel further down the road. Thanks everyone for the info.

  31. 31
    Stephen Says:

    The best suggestion is to stop using Hertz. They know about the problem but they don’t warn you about the gas station when you pick up your car. Just use the rental companies in the terminal, they are cheaper anyway.

  32. 32
    Craig Blair Says:

    We also got ripped off at the SUNCOAST ENERGYS ORLANDO FL. It not only is close to the airport but also has a MacDonalds. I put 6 gallons in and then realized that we were paying 4.67 a gallon. We drove up the street and payed 2.63. Doesn’t Florida have requlators? Doesn’t MacDonalds care what this station is doing?

  33. 33
    Rob B Says:

    Same here. Most consumers, when comparing gas prices, measure in pennies and pay attention to the digits to the right of the decimal, never considering that when the cents agree with market prices, the dollars won’t. I paid $4.69 when the market price was $2.55. I mentally saw a $.14 per gallon premium. I was already $20 into the transaction when I noticed something was wrong. In any event, at a minimum, you have to pull in and get out of your car to see what the price is.

    It’s not about the money; it’s about the emotional trauma. There is a sense of violation, anger and guilt that goes with being victimized. I was deceived and fell for it. It’s like a bait and switch without bait. You’re supposed to think you’re getting one thing when you actually just bought what you didn’t want. And you can’t give it back and ask for a refund. No amount of caveat emptor rationalization can account for the ethics of this establishment’s practices. They know exactly what they are doing. It’s subversive. They are preying on human nature.

    But here’s the solution: When you are in Orlando, if you have the opportunity, DO pull into Suncoast Energys and warn people off. It will be good Karma for you, give you a bit a salve on the emotional scar and every time someone leaves the station, it takes another $20 bucks out of his pocket. So, pull into Suncoast Energys, just don’t buy gas. Pull up to a pump, get out of your car and shout “Oh my god, it’s ${whatever it is} a gallon!”
    And yes, I did just register the http://www.suncoastenergys.com domain. This will be fun.

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