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Petrol rip-off at Caltex Braddon

By 4 April 2008 17

The Caltex at Braddon are using a practice that I believe is illegal.

Realising my tank was low and it was Thursday morning and probably too late to beat the weekend price spike, I was surprised to see the Caltex had E10 at 135.4c, so ducked right in. Started pumping and the bowser came up 11c/l more!

When I went in I told the cashier they would have to recalculate the bill on the advertised price. She bucked, so I said fine – I’ll just be calling ACT Fair Trading, and she then went for the supervisor. Meanwhile another ten customers were being similarly ripped off, while the supervisor was belatedly out there changing the sign. But even though they heard my complaint, they meekly lined up and paid the higher amount. My tiny tank was only about $4 difference but the others behind me were likely getting shafted around $10 each.

I eventually paid a lower amount, but this sort of behaviour stinks. And I am amazed that people put up with it. Why do Canberra people put up with the regular rip offs that are so prevalent around this town?

In WA the petrol pricing commissioner requires prices for the next day to be lodged nightly by each station. prevents this sort of crap happening. Bring it on.

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17 Responses to Petrol rip-off at Caltex Braddon
#1
RandomGit9:36 am, 04 Apr 08

They don’t honour vouchers and also charge a surcharge if you use a credit card. Every time, not just if the amount is less than 10 bucks.

Taking advantage of an enviable business location I understand and it’s up to the market to bear it or not. But misrepresenting prices like you describe is pretty poor form.

#2
pug206gti9:53 am, 04 Apr 08

I’d be phoning the ACCC too. Its a high interest area and looks like a breach of the TPA s52 A corporation shall not, in trade or commerce, engage in conduct that is misleading or deceptive or is likely to mislead or deceive.

You were given information by the vendor, relied on it, made the purchase and then would have suffered a detriment.

#3
m6.710:30 am, 04 Apr 08

Sounds like a guy who probably works pretty hard for not a whole lot of money made a little stuff-up.

How about cutting your fellow man a little slack?

#4
Mælinar11:02 am, 04 Apr 08

^^ Thats about the limit of what the ACCC will find, except they’ll use more flowery words.

#5
AussieGal8311:33 am, 04 Apr 08

Good on you Al for sticking to your guns and paying it.

m6.7, its his job, if he cant get it right then he shouldnt be doing it. I’m sure everyone of Braddon’s customers works just as hard for their money too.

#6
m6.711:43 am, 04 Apr 08

AussieGal83 if you’ve never stuffed something up in your job you’re either bloody fantastic or full of it.

Far be it from me to suggest which of the two I think is more likely.

#7
JD1141:40 pm, 04 Apr 08

I used to fill up there all the time. One day I walked in and had the credit card surcharge added to my bill. Fair enough I thought, that’s their right, so I paid and next time I selected another garage that didn’t whack on the extra charge. Since then I have only called in once to that garage. Estimated number of litres sold to me that garage has lost maybe 650. At a conservative 7c litre margin, they’d be down $45.50 in profit. The credit card surcharge over the same period would have netted them maybe $13.00? They might be ahead across the whole population but they’re way down on me. Go figure, does that business practice make sense to you?

#8
Gungahlin Al2:54 pm, 04 Apr 08

And that JD is called “marginal net worth”, which was part of the point of my article.
Getting sick of certain Canberra businesses loading up the margins, plus doing unscrupulous things like this place did, just because the town has a high average wage.

Cut him some slack M6? I did – I asked nicely first.

#9
m6.74:29 pm, 04 Apr 08

All I’m saying is I’m not that convinced that it was some conniving move to separate you from your cash through deception. I think it’s more likely that someone forgot to change the sign.

#10
shenanigans7:54 pm, 04 Apr 08

If a shop puts the wrong price tag on something, it doesn’t matter – you get it for that price. Why should petrol be different?

#11
Vic Bitterman8:28 pm, 04 Apr 08

I agree with Gungahlin Al, good on yer.

However, shenanigans, you are plain old wrong with your assumption re the price tag. There is a voluntary code of practice with some supermarkets in which your food item if mislabeled you will get it for free. This does not extend to non food items, and even getting them for free may well be a gesture of goodwill if nothing else. Note, this code of practice is voluntary too.

Go and Google ‘Invitation to treat’. That will give you the background on price labelling. In essence, doesn’t mean that a particular item with a price tag means you will get it for that price, assuming the retailer is making an honest mistake.

#12
Jonathon Reynolds11:14 pm, 04 Apr 08

@Vic Bitterman:
Scanning code of practice is here: http://www.ara.com.au/138.html

and the ACCC has the following to say about Consumer Rights for Pricing: http://www.accc.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/11746/fromItemId/3667

Which leads on to a related “pricing” issue which gets up my nose (however more a national issue rather than a local one)

Have you noticed the current trend to put two prices on products: an “after cash back” price and a “you pay” price. Typically it occurs with the IT and Electronics retailers. Some examples (and note that these links will expire when these online catalogues go out of date) :

Harvey Norman: http://www.harveynorman.com.au/catalogue/viewcatalogue.html?cat=105059

Officeworks: http://catalogues.cataloguecentral.com.au/cc.asp?xml=officeworks.xml&iid=7086&did=6686835&VendorId=38&hash=5974bf0450ec0ce6af07f8d97a0a016a379610fc&src=ext

Dick Smith: http://catalogues.cataloguecentral.com.au/cc.asp?xml=dicksmith.xml&iid=7268&did=6686890&VendorId=17&hash=ba5eac94b657f51c24fb0e02f1af10353480b012

Myer: https://www.myerone.com.au/export/sites/default/myerone/content/catalogue/midseason_2008/index.html

Unfortunately it seems to be a common practice across virtually all retailers and surely this must verge on deceptive advertising? I know there is a common practice of adding footnotes to prices and descriptions… but its getting worse.

#13
Holden Caulfield5:25 pm, 09 Apr 08

shenanigans said :

If a shop puts the wrong price tag on something, it doesn’t matter – you get it for that price. Why should petrol be different?

I’d say it was an honest stuff up on someone’s part at the servo in question.

When I was pumping fuel to get me through CIT back in the early 90s, it was pretty widely known that, if dropping the price, you do it on the bowser first, and if raising the price, you do it on the signs first. Can’t remember the exact specifics, but there’s a law somewhere or other that states the sign cannot be marked at a higher price than what is displayed at the bowser.

#14
Davo11112:58 am, 10 Apr 08

If a shop puts the wrong price tag on something, it doesn’t matter – you get it for that price. Why should petrol be different?

You get it for the price written on the shelf.
However – If (just like this large sign) you have been attracted to the store due to a catalog/sign etc then i have to honor the price… unless i make “attempts” to remove the sign/make corrections of the catalog, and put up “corrected notices” at the front of my store.

At the end of the day, when a shop sells items, you are offering to buy the items, they can still refuse to sell you the item. this occurs when people try and “adjust” my signs from $30 to $10 and think i won’t notice etc etc.

#15
caf10:07 am, 10 Apr 08

The “invitation to treat” thing (Davo111′s last paragraph) is fine in most instances, but in the case of buying petrol it’s hardly a simple matter to put it back and walk away if you don’t like the price at the counter.

#16
ant12:45 pm, 10 Apr 08

Jonathon Reynolds said :

Have you noticed the current trend to put two prices on products: an “after cash back” price and a “you pay” price…

Unfortunately it seems to be a common practice across virtually all retailers and surely this must verge on deceptive advertising? I know there is a common practice of adding footnotes to prices and descriptions… but its getting worse.

This system came from the US, where they call them “rebates”. Yanks love official-sounding terms for things. So you buy your item and then claim a “rebate” through various tortuous procedures, all aimed at limiting how many people actually claim (and get) a portion of the price back.

They’ve costed it all out, and essentially it’s a great way of advertising a sale price, and moving more stock because of it, but limiting how many “rebates” you have to honour.

Many people won’t bother. Others will stuff it up somehow, lose their docket or throw away the packaging and not cut out the label/barcode/secret password etc, or fail to claim in the allotted 2.5 days, or fail to fill out sufficient bits of paper, and so “fail to qualify” for the rebate.

I refuse to participate in these. If a shop’s offering them, I might enquire if I can buy the item for the sale price, and if not, I tell them why I’m not buying. It’s a bad road for us to go down, it’s a rort.

#17
Davo1114:10 am, 13 Apr 08

oh you are completely right caf, i was just commenting on an above comment regarding shelf price.

In the petrol situation, i would ask to speak with the manager etc, and just kick up a huff until the price was corrected – common sense prevails…i hope.

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