The Sharks Come Out For Sunmart

It’s one thing to have the

Texas Attorney General

after you for potentially tens of millions of dollars in fines, but when average Harris County residents such as Allison Snoddy, Stefanie Brigance and Charles Ziegler join in on the hunt, watch out.

Attorney General Greg Abbott has filed a lawsuit against The Woodlands-based Petroleum Wholesale Inc. for allegedly shortchanging customers at Sunmart gas pumps, accusing the company of deliberately charging motorists more than the posted amount per gallon. Earlier this month, state investigators revealed that more than 60 percent of the pumps at 47 Sunmart stations were shortchanging customers.

Snoddy, Brigance and Ziegler are now getting into the act, having filed a lawsuit earlier this week against Sunmart in Harris County District Court.

They allege that they were among the many who bought gasoline at Sunmarts that were listed by state investigators as having fraudulently hiked up prices.

The three locals “allege that they were short-changed as much as 40 cents for every gallon of gasoline that they purchased” from the Sunmart stations. Although only Snoddy, Bigance and Ziegler are listed as plaintiffs, they are seeking to have their case accepted as a class action because they “believe that the class consists of several thousand members or more,” according to the lawsuit.

So how much money did these three alleged victims lose? Unfortunately, their attorney, Dennis Reich, did not return phone calls asking that very question. But our guess is it’s far less than the cost of a lawyer.

-- Chris Vogel

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