Price gouging complaints pour in; Fuel brought in to Nashville by barge

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A local gas station clerk says customers have been asking a lot of questions about the gas shortage over the past several days.

Claudia Gutierrez told News 2 the last few days have been tough.

“They say when are they going to fix the problem? Is this a rip-off?” she recalled.

Gutierrez said the gas station received enough gas to get them through the next two days. Meanwhile, they put a $20 limit on the amount of gas each customer can purchase.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

She told News 2 she is also aware that some gas stations have been hiking up their prices during the gas shortage.

“People just raising the prices just to get people’s money,” Gutierrez noted.

The Department of Commerce and Insurance told News 2 it has been flooded with complaints of price gouging.

Over the weekend, consumer affairs received nearly 600 complaints about high gas prices. Some customers reported seeing retailers charging as much as $9.99 per gallon.

“To put it in perspective, our Consumer Affairs division typically gets 5,000 complaints a year in total – not just related to price-gouging complaints,” said Kevin Walters with the commerce department.

Due to the overflow, consumer affairs has not finished compiling all the complaints.

(Photo: WKRN)

“If I was on empty, I would be really concerned,” said customer Geoffrey Melcher.

In Tennessee, price gouging is against the law and any complaints the Department of Commerce and Insurance determines are valid will get turned over the attorney general for review.

But things are looking up as the first barges of gas arrived in Nashville on Monday carrying large volumes of fuel.

MORE: With some gas stations dry, pipeline works to send more fuel

Fuel and grocer officials for Tennessee say the barges will increase the city’s supply, and Governor Bill Haslam’s waiver on fuel workers’ hours helped their efforts.

The outages are also intermittent as tankers are trying to make deliveries as many times as possible, according to Emily LeRoy, executive director of the Tennessee Fuel an Convenience Store Association.

“A station that you see out of gas at one time could have gas in the next hour. Consumers will continue to see intermittent outages as the industry works hard to get fuel back at the pumps,” she added.

Click here to read more about the gas shortage across the Southeast.

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