Two-Tier Gas Pricing Catching Customers Unaware | Business

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Two-Tier Gas Pricing Catching Customers Unaware
Two-Tier Gas Pricing Catching Customers Unaware

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- What gas customers see advertised may not be the price they pay at the pump.

It's because of something gas inspection experts call two-tier pricing.

In response to many questions from viewers about the different pricing, First Coast News asked why, if it's legal and what you can do about it.

Gas stations using two-tier pricing advertise one price for cash (or company-specific credit cards, such as Shell or Chevron), but display another price at the pump for credit cards.

"They just pull up to the pump to get their gas and then realize, 'Oh, they charged me more than what that sign said,'" explained Roberta Lawson, a supervisor for petroleum inspection in North Florida.

The practice is popular in South Florida but it's becoming more common on the First Coast, according to Lawson.

The reason stations do it may be because of steep vendor credit card fees.

"It saves them money if you'll use cash," Lawson said, "So they're going to give you a discounted price."

"If you aren't paying attention it will get you," said gas customer Leroy Rhodes.

Rhodes said the price difference can be extreme; he's seen as high as $.10 or $.11 per gallon.

In the past month, the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has received 10 registered complaints. Two are awaiting inspection, one had several violations, but the others were cleared.

To the dismay of many, two-tier pricing is legal as long as it's conspicuously marked on the advertised sign, according to Lawson.

Leaving it up to consumers to catch the cash-only prices.

If you find a gas station with different prices that does not have the advertised price listed as cash-only, save your receipt and report the station, by calling 1-800-HELPFLA (1-800-435-7352).

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