A copy of the citation was displayed at a city hall press conference Friday.
Written by Frank Lopez
The owner of a Fresno business that received a $10,000 citation for price gouging is speaking out against the action he thinks has a “political” motive.
Code enforcement officers cited Ravinder Singh, owner of Super Liquor at 4045 W. Figarden Dr., for selling 24-count cases of 20-ounce Aquafina water for $16 and discriminating against customers by charging different people different prices.
Singh faces the $10,000 fine for violating the recent price-gouging ordinance passed by the Fresno City Council this week. He has until April 20 to pay the fine.
Singh plans to appeal.
Rav Singh, son of the owner, claimed in a phone interview Friday that they have never committed price gouging.
Rav said Super Liquor has always sold the 24 packs of Aquafina water bottles for $16 dollars — even charging a little less for each bottle than if they were being purchased individually. Each one of the individual bottles sells at retail for about $1.50, Rav said.
Rav said that he keeps the cases of water bottles against a counter for restocking purposes, but doesn’t display or advertise them to be sold by the case.
According to Rav, the code enforcement official was comparing the price of 24-packs of water being sold in nearby stores, but that she was not considering the difference in costs between different brands.
Rav said that he is seeing users on social media make “nasty comments” on the Facebook pages of local news sites. The store is also receiving angry phone calls.
Rav is confident he has the necessary documentation to prove that he has always charged $16 dollars for the packs of water.
Rav said that he has not personally heard from city officials or from members of the code enforcement team about the accusation of discrimination against customers.
Rav believes his family business is being used as an example by city officials — singling out Fresno City Councilmember Mike Karbassi — to show that they are doing something during the crisis.
“You’ve already held a press conference, accusing me of being a thief, essentially,” Rav said. “It’s a political year and it’s him trying to show that they are trying to do the right thing.”