Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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February 14, 2014

W.Va. AG targets 2 stores over water price gouging

CHARLESTON — West Virginia’s attorney general is accusing a convenience store company of illegally raising water prices while running water was unusable after a chemical spill.

Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the enforcement action Friday in Putnam County Circuit Court, claiming Mid Valley Mart more than doubled prices for one-gallon water jugs to $3.39 at two Hurricane stores. The complaint also says one customer paid more than $40 for 12 one-gallon jugs.

The lawsuit seeks injunctive relief, reimbursement to customers and fines in excess of $5,000 per violation.

Store owner Achraf Assi declined comment.

It’s illegal in West Virginia to raise prices on essential products and services by more than 10 percent in a state of emergency.

The Jan. 9 spill spurred a tap water-use ban for days for 300,000 West Virginians.

 

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