Zeldin Targets Stations With High Cash vs. Credit Differentials

N.Y. state senator announces details of "Buyer Beware" legislation

Lee Zeldin

HAUPPAUGE, N.Y. -- New York State Senator Lee M. Zeldin (R), chairman of the Senate Consumer Protection Committee, held a press conference yesterday detailing his legislation designed to protect consumers at the pump.

Senator Zeldin started drafting this legislation after reports surfaced across Long Island and the New York City metropolitan region of gas stations charging differences of at least $1, and upwards of $2, between the cash price on the street sign and the nondisclosed credit price.

"This legislation will help end the deceptive practices that some bad actors are using to lure consumers into their stations from the street using deceptive pricing schemes. Once in front of the pump, consumers then learn of the scam when they notice that non-advertised credit prices are as much as $1 to $2 per gallon more," said Senator Zeldin.

The details of the legislation, which Zeldin unveiled today, would require gas stations charging more than a 7% per gallon differential between cash and credit prices to display the higher prices on a sign visible from the road. These business owners, whom Zeldin calls " unscrupulous," will have to display the higher price for every grade of gasoline for which there is more than a 7% difference between the credit and cash price.

There will also be harsh penalties for violation of this legislation, he said, including a $500 fine in the event of noncompliance for a first offense, and a $1,000 fine for subsequent offenses. Upon a third offense, a business will also be forced to shut down for a period of 10 days or until the business comes within compliance, whichever is later.

Zeldin also gave examples to the media of several gas stations that are charging at least a $1 more than the advertised street sign price. They included Gulf stations in Medford and Bohemia and a Mobil station in Islip Terrace.

The legislation, which will be introduced this week, will be referred to Zeldin's Consumer Protection Committee for consideration. If enacted into law, this legislation will take effect within 30 days of the governor's approval.

"While the majority of gas station owners and operators respect their consumers, we have an obligation to help reveal the deceptive pricing schemes of the bad actors," said Zeldin. "Nothing is more powerful than informed consumers deciding to either pay cash, or giving their business to a different gas station. Government's role is to pass on the tools consumers need to identify the businesses that are attempting to rip them off."