Earlier this year, the NSW Government introduced a new law requiring all NSW fuel retailers to notify NSW Fair Trading each and every time they changed their prices on the service station forecourt.
The stated purpose of this new law was to provide consumers with ‘real-time’ price information – effectively creating an electronic extension of the physical price board displayed on the forecourt of the State’s 1,900 service stations.
The new law took effect at 10am on Tuesday 19 July 2016. It followed a previous requirement for all fuel retailers to provide basic business and contact details to NSW Fair Trading by 30 June 2016.
By now, the owner of every service station business in NSW should have received an email from NSW Fair Trading with their FuelCheck Registration details and instructions on how to upload prices to the system.
Any fuel retailer that has not received these details should first check their email inbox (including the ‘junk’ folder) and then contact NSW Fair Trading if they are still unable to locate this email notification.
We are now in the ‘introductory phase’ of the FuelCheck Regulation.
During this phase, all fuel retail businesses are required to report all changes in fuel prices as soon as they occur – but this price information is not yet being made available to the public.
This ‘introductory phase’ was specifically introduced to provide an opportunity for NSW Fair Trading to work with fuel retailers to resolve any system issues associated with the uploading of price information.
During this phase, NSW Fair Trading is currently monitoring the price information being entered into FuelCheck and helping service stations become familiar with the system.
The good news is that NSW Fair Trading has advised ACAPMA that that the majority of service stations have completed the registration process and are starting to provide their fuel prices on a regular basis.
The ‘introductory phase’ will end in early August, with all retailers receiving notification of this change immediately in advance.
This means that prices will be visible on a public website and consumers will be able to lodge complaints with NSW Fair Trading if they notice that the prices shown in FuelCheck for an individual site don’t match the actual prices displayed on the pump.
“While we can continue to argue about the merits or otherwise of these new laws, the fact is that they are now in place and ACAPMA has therefore directed its efforts towards resolution of any observed issues in consultation with NSW Fair Trading”, said ACAPMA CEO Mark McKenzie.
“Most of the problems experienced in the first week have occurred due to incorrect email addresses and have been quickly resolved – which is a real credit to the FuelCheck team at NSW Fair Trading”, added Mark.
So, if you are a service station owner and not currently using FuelCheck then time is running out.
It is time to start using the system so that any potential issues for your business are resolved before enforcement commences.
Further information about the requirements of Fuel Check are available on the FuelCheck section of their website (http://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/ftw/About_us/Online_services/FuelCheck.page).
Or you can call NSW Fair Trading on 13 32 20 (select ‘Option 1’ to speak to one of the members of their specialist FuelCheck team).
NSW Fair Trading has also developed some training and instructional materials to help fuel retailers understand how to use the new FuelCheck system. These materials can be access via the fuel check training page (see FuelCheck training page).