Doubts pick up at the pump

ST. JAMES, N.C. — Dan Haynes of Surfside Beach doesn't suspect someone is trying to rip him off at the gas pump.

"I know it," he said while filling up his sport utility vehicle on a heat-laden morning in Brunswick County.

Haynes said making a profit is OK, but when historic high profits are combined with historic high gas prices, maybe the profit, and the gas price, could be lower.

Haynes is not alone in his suspicions. Agencies in North and South Carolina responsible for ensuring that customers get what they're paying for at gas pumps say the number of complaints has tripled since the cost of gasoline began its momentous surge last year.

Unlike Haynes, though, officials say the complaints they get are directed at convenience stores and other retail gas outlets. Customers say the pump begins tallying the cost before any gas comes out of the nozzle or that the meter says they got more gas than their car can hold.