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Westchester Legislators Approve Revised Law On Gasoline Pricing Signs

A revised law would fine gas station owners $1,000 per day if both cash and credit/debit prices are not displayed.

The Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday that addresses deceptive trade practices in gasoline pricing signs.

The by county legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers) due to the absence of gasoline signs indicating higher prices for payments made by debit or credit cards.

The revised law would specifically affect gas station owners prohibiting them from misleading the public on those prices. Instead of displaying just the visible from the road cash price, and then have different credit prices visible when someone drives up to the pump, gas station owners would have to prominently display both.

If they fail to display the difference in prices, they could be fined up to $1,000 for each day they're in violation. 

When the law is signed by county executive Rob Astorino, the new bill will take effect in six months.

"Hard-working Westchester residents should not be lured into a gas station with posted signage of a cash price for gasoline that is substantially lower than the debit or credit price at the pump," said Kaplowitz, who serves as the Environment and Energy Committee Chairman. "I’m pleased that my colleagues on the county board recognized this deceptive trade practice as ‘bait-and-switch’ and joined me in voting to change our Consumer Protection Code to prohibit it."

that he believes the law would benefit customers and prices will come down as a result of competition among gas stations. He said the cost of the law is minimum, as gas station owners would only have to purchase signs, if they don't have them. They would have 60 days from the day the law is passed to purchase those signs.

Throughout Westchester County, some gas stations charge the same price for gasoline regardless of type of payment—cash, credit or debit—while others, claiming that debit and credit cards fees from banks eat into their profits, charge a discounted price for cash, Kaplowitz said.

"Customers have a right to know upfront how much a gallon of gasoline will cost at the pump—it shouldn’t come as a surprise," said Autobahn/Citgo Yorktown owner Ron Guarino, who supported Kaplowitz during his October press conference. 

Watch the embedded YouTube video above of Kaplowitz's press conference in October. The video was provided by the Westchester County Board of Legislators.

Nelson Salazar December 02, 2011 at 12:44 PM
There are costs associated with cash that are often not discussed. A business that handles a lot of cash has additional costs/risks of theft, security and errors in cash handling. In addition most (all?) banks today charge businesses a fee for depositing cash that often comes close or matches those fees charged by credit card companies. The price difference I've often seen in my area for using a credit card is 10 cents per gallon. I do think that gas stations are profiting from this practice.
sam hedrick December 02, 2011 at 08:04 PM
I'm in Lawrence , Kansas right now. I really don't care about how the prices are posted. I care about the price. Here gas is $3.03 a gallon. Cash and credit. Give New Yorkers a break somehow.
Michael Woyton December 02, 2011 at 08:49 PM
Can you bring me back some $3.03/gallon gas? Thanks in advance.
Francis T McVetty December 03, 2011 at 02:55 PM
Michael Woyton, we might get a price reduction if the President and his administration would let US drill for OUR own oil!!!! The numskull won't even let a pipeline be built from Canada to Texas. At least buying oil from Canada is better than buying oil from Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Venezuela. None of these countries are our friends and we are pumping in billions into their coffers.Remember way back when the president said it would be ok if the gas prices rose to $5 a gallon. Well he looks like he is getting that, isn't he?
Sharon Deer December 03, 2011 at 08:16 PM
It's great to see a consumer protection law go into effect here.

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