Petrol Stations Caught Misleading Motorists in NSW
NSW, Australia (News4us.com) April 27, 2011
Prime Fuel Distributors Pty Ltd has admitted to misleading motorists about the types of petrol available at its Speedway Mt Pritchard and Speedway Meadows (NSW) service stations.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission alleged that between May and October 2010 Prime sold the same petrol as both unleaded and E10 unleaded 95 at the two service stations.
“Price board signage and different coloured labelling on bowsers gave the impression that two different petrol products were available when in fact both products had the same octane rating and ethanol content of around 10 per cent,” ACCC commissioner Mr Joe Dimasi said.
The ACCC considered that by selling the same petrol as two different products at different price points, Prime was likely to have breached the Trade Practices Act 1974*.
Prime has paid two infringement notices totalling $13,200. One infringement notice for each service station which engaged in the alleged conduct.
The ACCC has also accepted court-enforceable undertakings from the directors of Prime to:
- not engage in the promotion and sale of different fuels at any service station owned or operated by the company when those different fuels are in fact the same fuel
- implement a trade practices compliance program, and
- publish a corrective notice in newspapers as well as at both service stations.
Following the ACCC’s investigation, Prime took immediate corrective action at both service stations, by withdrawing one of its unleaded products from sale and correcting promotional signage and labelling on petrol bowsers to reflect this change.
As the onsite day-to-day manager of both service stations Mr Jamil El-Khoury has provided a separate court-enforceable undertaking to the ACCC.
Mr El-Khoury has undertaken not to engage in, or be directly or indirectly knowingly concerned in, or party to, the promotion and sale of different fuels at any service station, when in fact those different fuels promoted and sold to customers are the same fuel.
Mr Dimasi said service stations should take extreme care in their labelling and promotion of fuel products.
“The practice of promoting and selling the same petrol as different products is patently misleading and deceptive.”
“Consumers are particularly price sensitive with respect to fuel, and rely on the accuracy of representations about available petrol products when choosing which petrol to purchase for their cars,” Mr Dimasi said.
Copies of the undertakings will be available from the ACCC website, under Public Registers, http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml?itemId=6029.
*On 1 January 2011 as part of the Australian Consumer Law amendments the Trade Practices Act 1974 was renamed the Competition and Consumer Act 2010.
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