Fact Finders: Tackling price discrepancies at gas stations

Is it illegal for the price at the pump to be different than advertised on the sign?
Published: Jan. 18, 2023 at 8:52 PM CST
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Many of you noticed the price of gas go up this week. Triple-A reports the national average rose by 8 cents to $3.35 for regular unleaded. During the price transition, one of our viewers noticed a problem at a Kum & Go station on East Chestnut. This leads to our question; is it illegal for the price at the pump to be different than advertised on the sign?

The viewer pulled in to get gas on Monday (January 16) with a marquee sign advertising $2.99 for a gallon of regular unleaded. When she reached the pump, it showed a price of 3.19. So, quite the shock of 20 cents higher than advertised.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture has inspectors who travel the state. They make sure when you pump a gallon of gas. You get a gallon of gas. They’ll also make sure the prices match. Ideally, when the price goes up, the price on the sign changes first. Then, the station changes the price at the pump, so you don’t get sticker shock.

“It’s just important that folks inside those gas stations do try to, you know, follow a procedure to get those things done and so that the consumer does see the price on the marquee, and it does match the price at the pump,” explained Christi Miller of The Missouri Department of Agriculture. “But it certainly does happen; human error. We’re all human. And most likely, you know that issue was corrected quite quickly. I would suspect that it was fixed later that same day, and we can certainly send an inspector by any day to check on that particular location.”

Kum & Go told us, “We have several best practices to mitigate incorrect advertising of fuel prices. Although rare, technical errors do sometimes occur. If this happens, we encourage impacted customers to contact our customer relations team so we can compensate them for the difference. We will always honor the posted price when we are contacted and provided with proof of purchase.”

Meantime, if the price at the pump and the price on the sign don’t match for a long time, it can be a violation. If you notice that type of issue, you can call the Missouri Department of Agriculture’s Consumer Protection Line at 573-751-4278.

Coming back to the viewer question, is it illegal for the price at the pump to be different than advertised on the sign? The short answer is yes. The Prices at the pumps must match the prices on the signs. Again, call the state if you see a problem.

If you have a question for Fact Finders, email us at factfinders@ky3.com

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com