The plan to stop servos ripping you off 37



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It’s a typical scenario: we’re driving and the fuel light comes on. We want to find a service station ASAP but we don’t want to just go to the first one – we want to find the cheapest. And sometimes, we’ll be presented with a big sign that says ‘Discount unleaded 4c off’ with the discounted price. Thinking this is a great deal, we’ll go in, only to find out we have to spend a certain amount in store to get the price, or have vouchers or coupons on us. Sometimes the type of fuel we want to use is different to the discount type.

If you’re sick of being misled or confused by these signs, you’re not alone. In fact, RACQ wants to stop the deceit at petrol stations and has today asked the state government to force petrol companies to show the full price of petrol on the big display boards outside petrol stations and stop displaying discount prices.

RACQ’s external manager public policy Michael Roth told Fairfax that motorists are stopping at servos and subsequently find they cannot buy at the discounted price.

For years consumer affairs groups have tried to develop solutions for this issue and with nowhere to go, NSW, SA and WA now all have their own fuel price board standards.

“Queensland does not have any, so we are asking the state government to implement our own regulations,” he said.

Mr Roth said the petrol-price situation in 2015 was a result of the petrol price shopper docket schemes advertised by Woolworths and Coles.

“But we still want the discount prices gone. We figure that if people have a shopper docket or access to a particular discount they will know that,” Mr Roth said.

“So the price on the price board should be the full price,” he said.

“Anyone should be able to pull in and purchase the fuel at that price”.

“We are still finding that Coles and Woolies – and even some of the independents – are offering discounted fuels and you have to buy a Mars bar and a can of Coke to get fuel at that price,” he said.

“So it happens to a lot of motorists where they see the sign saying $1.29 per litre, they pull in and they end up having to pay $1.36 per litre for fuel, because that $1.29 cents per litre was a discounted price for E10 (ethanol blend).

The RACQ wants four full prices: two petrol grades – regular and premium, or E10 and premium; full diesel price; full LPG price.

“The national process has been ongoing for a number of years and it hasn’t amounted to anything,” Mr Roth said.

“We think that is not good enough anymore and we have raised statewide standards again”.

We want to know your thoughts today: Have you have fuel price shock at the bowser? What should petrol stations do? Or is it easy enough to figure out the price?

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  1. Unfortunately this would take government intervention. If a small business owner were to run a business the same way the oil companies do, then that small business owner would be severley fined or put in jail. The government representatives with their jelly fish spines will not take on the oil companies as the oil companies have too much clout, further to this the more we pay for fuel, the more GST is collected to line the government coffers, which no doubt contributes in part, pays for helicopter rides, family holidays etc etc.

    1 REPLY
    • What a load of bollocks!! At least 3 states (SA, NSW & WA) have successfully legislated within the last two years to have only full prices displayed on price boards. There has been no issue with the State governments taking on the oil companies. Since 2013, there has been a push to make this legislation standard across Australia.

  2. SA and NSW legislated for this in 2013, sounds like WA has also addressed the issue. Vic and Qld have been talking about it since 2013, not sure if it’s been introduced yet, and I’m not sure of the status of NT and Tas.

    We have just completed 4 months travelling in a caravan from Adelaide to Cooktown and back, taking in some of NSW as well, and we did not notice the boards displaying the discounted prices in our travels. Maybe we are so used to seeing the full prices displayed, that we no longer take notice of a discounted price if it’s on the boards.

    1 REPLY
    • My regular servo in a country town near Hobart shows the standard price. There is also a second sign indicating that shopper dockets are accepted.
      A receipt is cheerfully given. The attendant just needs to press an extra button on the cash register to print one. This is probably because few people bother with them and will throw them away without even looking at them.
      So, why shouldn’t the servo operator save an overhead cost – that of continually replacing printer rolls and the time required to install them?

  3. In Vic the docket servos used to show the discounted price up top but now have the full price up top. Further discounts with a purchase seem to be clearly stated.

  4. I first came accross the scheme about 5 years ago. I was driving to FNQ and knew the last Coles servo before Rocky was at Childers so I fueled up there and drove on to Gin Gin to the truckey stop as I new I could get a good meal there. Parked the ute on the apron and there just in side the door was a sign “eat here and get 4cent discount”.

    Fueled at Rocky and then when I got to Sarina there was the sign at the local. Buy a pie and get your discount.

    The crazey thing is that round trip is 3,500 ks so if I look for and get the discount it saves me $14 in fuel costs. Is it worth it? If you have to chase it NO. B|

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