Petrol stations have found a way to charge unsuspecting customers more for fuel while having them believe they are getting the cheapest price on the market.
Western Australian motorists are being urged to double check that they aren’t getting ripped off when filling up after some fuel providers in the state developed a sneaky trick to get you to spend more.
FuelWatch is a service run by the state government and provides residents with daily updates on which petrol stations have the cheapest fuel prices.
But some fuel providers have been cheating the system by dropping prices at a few locations in order to be featured on the service as one of the cheapest brands.
They then hike up the prices at the rest of their stores, tricking consumers into thinking they are getting the best price at all of their locations.
Caltex and United are some of the petrol stations that have been caught using this sneaky method, according to Perth Now.
Last week, Caltex was selling fuel as low as 108.9 cents per litre in one of it’s locations, while the majority of it’s stores had an average price of 111.4 cents per litre.
United was recently caught using this same tactic, selling it’s cheapest fuel at 107.1 cents per litre in Perth.
However, the brand’s average price across the metropolitan area was significantly higher at 112.2 cents per litre.
News.com.au has contacted Caltex and United for comment.
It appears this tactic isn’t just confined to a few stores either, with FuelWatch co-ordinator, Kyle Huynh, telling Perth Now that “most if not all brands employ the strategy”.
Mr Huynh said that FuelWatch is aware of this strategy being used by some brands to price well below the daily average at some stores to be seen in a good light even though the majority of locations aren’t that cheap.
“The purpose of this strategy is to have their brand feature in the media and on FuelWatch as the cheapest for that day, instilling an association of low prices with their brands,” Mr Huynh said.
He said that motorists shouldn’t be loyal to a brand just because they have the cheapest fuel one day, as prices change daily.