Broward County bans misleading gas prices

Gas stations owners face $250, $500 fines

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - Broward County Commissioners approved an amended ordinance that will make gas stations post the highest price of any grade of gasoline that drivers will pay for at the pump.

The goal is to curb the latest tactic used by gas station owners to lure drivers. Some post their cheaper cash prices on their street signs, then charge higher prices to customers who use credit cards.

"It's deceptive, you know what I mean," said Kenny Munyon, who was pumping gas at the BP station on U.S. 1 in Hollywood on Monday morning. "You look over and in small print (on the sign) it says, 'Cash price only.' I mean. that's just a rip off in my opinion."

"Paying for gas should not be guess work. Now when you see a posted price at the gas station, you'll know that's the most you'll be charged," Commissioner Lois Wexler, who sponsored the ordinance, said in a news release. "It should do away with the bait and switch practice of advertising one price if you pay with cash and a higher non-advertised price if you plan to use a credit or cash card."

At the GS gas station on U.S. 1 and Sheridan Street in Hollywood, the price on the sign is $3.85, but the price on the pump is set to $3.95. Customers have to ask for the 10 cent cash discount when you go inside to pay.

"Don't you think it's a little deceiving to have one price out there and one price here?" Local 10's Roger Lohse asked a station employee.

"Uh, I would say yeah, but at the end of the day, it says cash price, so as long as you know how to read, then it's common sense," said employee Sean Johnson.

Gas stations offering full and self-service must also state "Self-Service" on the sign if the price refers to self-service pumps only.

Those who violate the ordinance face a fine of $250 for the first violation and $500 for repeat offenders. The ordinance is applicable countywide except in cities that have already enacted rules for signs indicating the price of gasoline.

The county is in the process of notifying gas station owners about the new ordinance, which will take effect this week.

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