Monday 28 October 2013

Roadside fuel pricing on digital advertisting displays

Just along from Universal Music in Kensington, London, we spotted this digital billboard which also serves as a fuel price sign and 3rd party promotional tool for a small independent forecourt operator called ECO. The opportunity to generate extra revenue in such a manner would be interesting to many retailers, however what legal concerns does this pose, particularly with respect to the intermittent display of fuel prices?

We spoke with Geraldine McCarthy, spokesperson at the Petrol Retailers Association.

She commented:

"It's a legal requirement to display fuel prices on forecourt pumps but not on roadside display boards as this is deemed as advertising."

While the yet to be superseded Price Marking Order 2004 (Statutory Instrument No 102) which implements Directive 98/6/EC states that, "prices must be unambiguous, easily identifiable and clearly legible," this statute would only be directly applicable at point of purchase, and hence, not law-breaking on advertising panels outside of the fuel dispenser area.

In our view, retailers should be transparent in all their business dealings and communications with the public. The manner in which the price is communicated on this sign is not hidden but at the same time not as clear as it could be.

Overall we give ECO the benefit of the doubt but please tell us if you disagree.

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