Misleading fuel prices on advertising boards at service stations have been banned in the ACT. Discounters are now only able to show the true pump price, not one that requires a shopper docket or in-store purchase.

Amendments to the Fair Trading (Fuel Prices) Act came into force on Monday, and service stations that fail to comply could face fines of up to $16,200.

Discount prices advertised to woo motorists into filling up through in-store incentives and frequent shopper rewards have been common since Australia’s big two supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, entered the retail fuel market more than a decade ago.

The “what you see is what you pay” regulations have been in force in Queensland for more than a year.

Woolworths has leveraged its shopper rewards program while Coles has been using the in-store purchase incentive.

While both incentives may still operate, advertising the incentivised price is prohibited. Only the pump price available to all customers can be displayed.

“Service station retailers will need to ensure that from today their fuel price boards are kept up-to-date so that they never display a price less than the price at the pump,” ACT Consumer Affairs Minister Shane Rattenbury said.

To check compliance with new fuel price board requirements and increase consumer confidence, Access Canberra will undertake checks at service stations across the ACT.

Canberra motorists who notice any discrepancies between an advertised price on a fuel board and the price at the pump are urged to report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Motorists are encouraged to do some research before filling up using online tools such as Motor Mouth and Petrol Spy.

The new rules won’t apply to those fuel discounters that require membership, such as Costco.

Extracted from Canberra Times