It’s a classic bait and switch. Gas station operators are displaying one price for a gallon gas and charging another at the pump. And many motorists don’t even realize it.
Customers paying with credit cards are being charged an additional fee. Their defense is that they (the gas stations) are simply passing along the processing fee the credit card companies are chargning. Typically, credit card companies charge a 2% fee per transaction. Some gas stations are charging an additional 2% to cover this added expense. The problem is the large number of stations charging anywhere from 5% to 20% more per gallon.
The reality is the gas stations lure you in with a lower than competitor advertised price. As long as you pay cash, you get the better price. However, if you swipe your plastic, you are no longer saving money and possibly paying more than a competitor. Gas stations hope you’ll opt to pay cash. Paying cash gets you in the store and increases the possibility of additional purchases (sodas, candy, coffee). For the gas station it’s a win-win situation.
How can you protect yourself? Check your receipt. The pump should display the correct price when you swipe your card. However, double check your receipt and verify the price is correct. If it isn’t, or you discover an unreasonable additional charge, contact your state’s Department of Weights and Measures. It is against the law for the the station to charge you an unadvertised price. The can be charged a hefty penalty. I’d recommend taking the receipt inside, and making a bit of scene. Let everyone in the place know what you’ve been charged and the lack of the price being posted. Protect your rights.