Kent Co. gas price error leads to apology, answers

Kent County

PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Plainfield Township gas station came under fire on Facebook Thursday after a Rockford woman found herself paying more at the pump than the price listed on the roadside sign. 

The driver stopped at the Exxon Mobil station at 5450 Northland Drive NE, which was advertising regular gas for $2.80 per gallon. However, the picture she snapped at the pump shows the price was a dollar higher. In a post on Facebook, the woman said she stopped pumping after five gallons.

After learning about the issue 24 Hour News 8 visited the gas station to get answers.

“Last night, some new guy made a big mistake,” said employee Nehal Alam.

Alam said the new employee accidentally changed the prices and he didn’t notice the problem when he started his shift around 6:30 a.m. Alam said the customer was the first to alert him to the problem.

Alam said the Rockford woman was the only customer affected.

“One lady come in and saw this and we have fixed it,” he added.

Alam said the gas station owner is in India right now, so he alerted the owner’s brother, Paul Singh.

“Within one minute, he come back here and then we fix it,” Alam said. 

Singh wouldn’t talk to 24 Hour News 8 on camera, but said it was an honest mistake that affected only one person, and he offered his apologies to the community and to the woman out $5. 

“She come in later and I promise her, I give money back — about five bucks,” Alam said.

Craig VanBuren of the Michigan Department of Agriculture says it’s illegal to have a price at the pump  that is higher than the price on the sign. He says his department receives one or two complaints about this problem each month.

“If we receive a complaint, we send an inspector out to investigate. But most of the time, by the time we get there to do the investigation, everything is correct,” he explained.

VanBuren says if it is a reoccurring issue, the state attorney general can get involved and the gas station can face a hefty fine — as much as $10,000. 

“Whether they fix it or don’t fix it, you’re more than welcome to give us a call at our 800 number to file a complaint and make sure we get out there and do an inspection,” VanBuren said. 

That number is 800.MDA.FUEL, or 800.632.3835.

**Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated VanBuren said it was illegal to have a higher price on the sign than at the pump. The opposite is actually true: It is illegal to have a higher price at the pump than on the sign. The text has been updated. We regret the error.

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