Grant Taylor, 19 October 2015
A price error sparked a fuel-buying frenzy at a Perth service station after the retailer mistakenly sold its premium fuel at just 14.9c a litre.
The mistake meant big losses for the owner but hundreds of happy customers.
Cars queued on to Solomon Road at the Puma site in Cockburn Central for several hours on Saturday after news of the “1960s” prices spread rapidly via social media and word of mouth.
The petrol station is unmanned, which meant no one from the company noticed the mistake until mid afternoon when an honest patron telephoned another store to report it.
“The lady on the other end responded with ‘Jesus Christ’,” the customer said.
The mistake was apparently by an employee who entered 14.9 instead of 141.9 into the station’s computer the previous night.
A customer has toldThe West Australian that people lined up in utilities loaded with jerry cans and even towing boats, with one customer reportedly buying 1000 litres for just $150.
“It was like being in a B-grade apocalypse movie, with everyone filling up like it was the end of the world or something,” a customer, who asked to be known only as Aimee, said.
“There was a guy there in a ute and from what I could see, the whole tray was full of jerry cans … at least 20 of them I would say.”
Another customer posted on Facebook about their disappointment at reaching the front of the queue just as the supply was cut off about 3pm.
FuelWatch spokesman Kyle Huynh said yesterday it was highly unlikely that Puma would be able to pursue any of its customers for the losses, which could easily run into tens of thousands of dollars.
“The situation here is that there was a price advertised at the bowser and the transaction was completed on the basis of that price,” he said.
And there was potentially more bad news for Puma, with an investigation now likely to be launched by FuelWatch into potential breaches of its strict pricing policy.
By law, petrol must be sold at the price lodged with FuelWatch the previous day or big fines can apply — even if the price is discounted.
The West Australian attempted to contact Puma yesterday for comment without success.
Extracted in full from The West Australian.