ACT to ban ‘confusing’ fuel discount boards

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Service stations in the ACT will no longer be able to display discounted prices on fuel boards under new laws.

The laws are designed to protect motorists from ‘pricing confusion’ in the state.

Minister for Consumer Affairs Shane Rattenbury says the changes will help motorists make more informed choices before filling up.

“We have ongoing concerns that some motorists are paying more at the bowser than they expected,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Consumers should not be lured into petrol stations by cheap prices that are conditional on having a docket or in-store purchase. They have the right to know exactly how much they are going to pay at the pump.”

‘Greater transparency’

The Consumer Protection Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 will amend the Fair Trading (Fuel Prices) Act 1993 to:

  • ban service stations from displaying discounted prices on fuel boards, such as those that require a discount voucher or an in-store purchase; and
  • require retailers to amend the price of fuel advertised on the fuel price board before changing the price displayed at the pump.

“Up-to-date information about price changes will mean motorists should never pay more at the pump than the price advertised on the board,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“This is about creating greater transparency in the fuel market. And making it fairer for all motorists who are trying to find the best deal at the bowser. Motorists will be able to determine the real price quickly when driving past a fuel station.”

Six months to prepare

Retailers will have six months to prepare for the changes once the law kicks in. Operators will still be able to advertise a special offer, such as four cents off fuel. But they won’t be able to list the dollar amount on the price boards.

The ACT government says it consulted with industry before making the changes. It says they bring the state into line with South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

“I know some service stations may have already changed their fuel boards in Canberra,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Depending on market fluctuations, petrol can be expensive in Canberra. This makes it all the more important that motorists can make informed choices about where they buy their fuel.”