Tennessee gas station owner undercharges customers for several hours

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — No wonder sales were brisk.

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A gas station owner in eastern Tennessee was “on the verge of tears” after realizing he unwittingly offered customers the lowest prices in the country. The deep discounts went on for several hours before a customer at the Chattanooga gas station brought the error to the owner’s attention.

The customer, Henry DeHart, said he noticed there was a mistake when he filled his tank with premium gasoline.

“When I went to put the handle away, I was like, ‘Well, that’s not right,’ DeHart wrote in a Facebook post on April 14.

It wasn’t. DeHart put 12 gallons in his tank and was charged only $5.64. The average price of premium gas in Tennessee was more than $4.64 at the time; the latest national average price, according to AAA, is $4.12. Prices have dropped to an average of $4.57 for premium in Tennessee, according to the website.

So, DeHart was startled when he looked at his bill that he was being charged 45 cents per gallon.

DeHart said he went to show the owner but was having trouble communicating due to “a very difficult language barrier.”

“He wasn’t getting it, so I was like, ‘Print my receipt,’” DeHart wrote on Facebook. “He ran back around the counter, started poking at his screen and then turned green. No one had told him in the last five hours.”

DeHart paid the proper amount but said a customer behind him in line was upset about missing out on the discount.

“I insisted I pay the difference because he had already taken such a beating this morning,” DeHart wrote on Facebook. “What I find most frustrating about this is that this man, who came to a country to start a life, where they don’t speak his native language, with the guts to own a small business would get screwed over by people for half of day.

“There’s no telling how much money he lost today. He was on the verge of tears.”