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  1. #1
    BEB
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    Gas price advertising : Is this legal in your state? Should it be?

    This has been going on all summer, which at least gave us something to talk about other than corn. I think its shady business and ultimately will backfire on the operators as their reputations spread. Travelers have long memories about this sort of thing and will avoid these gas stations for decades for what they're doing now. Local opinion on the radio call in shows and around the watercooler is split, with those in favor of making a law against this practice in the lead.

    Have you heard of gas stations trying this where you are or is this illegal in your state? What do you think is the best way to stop this, or should it be left to the motorist to check the price?

    Advertising practice irritates I-80 travelers
    By NANCY HICKS / Lincoln Journal Star

    http://journalstar.com/articles/2007...2761110357.txt

    Interstate bandits. That’s what Ron Theby calls gas stations along Interstate 80 that post a low price on signs, then offer it on only two of their two dozen pumps.

    Conoco stations at North Platte, Ogallala and Lexington and the BP station at North Platte advertise the low prices, then offer gas at 25 to 50 cents a gallon higher on most of their pumps.

    Theby, a St. Louis businessman, wrote a letter published in the North Platte Telegraph and plans to send the message to travel publications and Internet blog sites, as well.

    Margaret Williams of Grand Island was so irritated she sent out an e-mail consumer alert earlier this summer. Within a week, she said, it had gone coast to coast.

    Williams was on her way to a family reunion in Colorado when she saw a sign for $3.09 a gallon for gas and pulled off I-80 at the North Platte exit. When she got to the station, she found the price of gas at all the pumps, except 1 and 2, was $3.59.

    She tried the nearby BP station. Same situation.

    Down the road a few blocks, a sign at the Shell station said: “All pumps the same price: $3.14.”

    That’s where Williams bought her gas.

    Her e-mail suggests boycotting stations that sell at a price higher than advertised, but she worries that people will blame the towns and the gas brand.

    “We are honest, hardworking people here in Nebraska, and this is the reputation we are getting.”

    Under state law, the signs — which show in smaller print that the lower-priced gas is available only at certain pumps — are not illegal as long as gas is available at the lower price at even one pump, according to Steve Malone, administrator of the state Weights and Measures Division.

    Some people who carefully check prices move to a different pump or another station. Some put in a few gallons before discovering the price difference.

    But many people fill up, not realizing they’re paying more than they expected, he said.

    “I’ve gotten calls from people who say they will never stop at North Platte again,” Malone said. “They are upset. And I can’t say I blame them.”

    People who stop for gas often also get something to eat, or spend the night, he said.

    “So a couple of guys taking advantage of the situation affects the whole town,” Malone said.

    Mark Wilkinson, who owns the Conoco stations that have adopted the advertising practice, declined to comment.

    Roy Wagner, one of the owners of the BP station in North Platte, said he started advertising a low price that’s available at only a few pumps to be competitive.

    “I personally don’t like doing it,” he said in a telephone interview. “They (the Conoco station) were pulling more people in to their station. It got to the point that in order to get any business we had to match what they were doing.”

    That doesn’t fly with Theby, who ate at the Flying J in North Platte with his family, then pulled into the BP gas station, where a sign advertised “unleaded: $3.149.”

    Theby didn’t notice the fine print, and the gasoline he pumped into his Ford Club Wagon — more than $100 worth — cost $3.499 a gallon.

    He was so angry, he said, he didn’t spend the night in North Platte as planned but drove straight home.

    And then he wrote some letters.

    Theby, president of an executive job search company, said he wrote to the Nebraska attorney general’s office but got no response. He also contacted the local police and chamber of commerce and said he’ll be sending a letter to the Nebraska Better Business Bureau and AAA. He plans to write to travel publications and Internet blog sites, too.

    Theby does a fair amount of car travel, he said, and has never run into the practice before.

    “It’s unfortunate that the greed of a few deceitful business owners can affect the reputation and business of many ethical merchants in North Platte,” he wrote in his letter to the editor.

    It’s not just travelers upset by this practice. Leaders of the North Platte Area Chamber of Commerce wish the two owners would stop the deceptive advertising.

    “That has been the No. 1 complaint this summer,” said chamber president David Bernard-Stevens, noting that the businesses are doing nothing illegal.

    “As a chamber we are caught between a rock and a hard place.

    “We also know (that) when people get upset at something in a community, in the long run that reduces the number of people who would stay or buy food or stop at specialty stores.”

    A Conoco spokesman said the company would like the practice to stop, too, but Wilkinson is an independent operator.

    “We do not condone this type of business. We are an ethical company,”said Janet Growthe, coordinator of communications in the Conoco-Phillips Co. corporate office in Texas.

    “But he is an independent dealer. So we are working with our brand marketer (who buys the product from Conoco and sells to independent dealers) to resolve these customer issues.”

  2. #2
    Pudge's Avatar
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    That's a crock of shat!

    I don't know if that would qualify as "bait and switch" here in Ohio or not, but one could make a damn good argument that it does.
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  3. #3
    SaraJ is offline Banned
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    Can't happen here. All prices for all petroleum products are set by the federal government. You don't like it, tell your senator.

  4. #4
    conalabu is offline Grasshopper
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    Quote Originally Posted by SaraJ View Post
    Can't happen here. All prices for all petroleum products are set by the federal government. You don't like it, tell your senator.
    That a good thing or a bad thing, Sara?
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  5. #5
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    I've never seen it happen here with gas, but hotels do it all the time. They'll have one room at $35 a night or something, and advertise it, but the rest of the rooms are at least $55.
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  6. #6
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    Bait and switch in my opinion.
    ...........................................

  7. #7
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    If it isn't illegal it needs to be made illegal. Amazing with all of the laws on the books something occasionally slips by.
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  8. #8
    Willowdared's Avatar
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    Can't happen here, they have to post the prices for each grade.
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  9. #9
    SaraJ is offline Banned
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    Quote Originally Posted by conalabu View Post
    That a good thing or a bad thing, Sara?

    As a firm believer in the free trade system I think it's a bad thing. Any time you pluck a commodity out of the system and start putting your own personal values on it you got problems. Did you know that Mexico sells all it's raw petroleum and buys back gasoline and home gas? Screwy. Anyway, the price of gasoline is pretty high for a country that produces its own petroleum.

 

 

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