The National Measurement Institute (NMI) has fined nine fuel retailers a total of $15,750 for short measuring customers.
$6,300 in fines to a further three companies and four referrals to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions are also being considered.
Addressing a ‘worrying trend’
Acting CEO at NMI, Bill Loizides, says NMI was paying attention to non-compliance of fuel pumps because of a “worrying trend” identified in its compliance data for 2017-18.
“The proportion of fuel pumps found to be inaccurate to consumer disadvantage doubled over a two-year period, from 2.4 per cent of inspected pumps in 2015-16 to 4.8 per cent in 2017-18,” Mr Loizides said.
“While we accept that the great majority of fuel retailers are doing the right thing, the one-in-20 pumps found during the audit to be under-pouring is an unacceptable level of non-compliance, especially when we provided plenty of warning that our inspectors would be on the look-out.
“Fuel retailers who don’t properly maintain their pumps to ensure they remain accurate at all times should be aware that we’ll be following up with another concentrated audit campaign in 2020, where they can expect a similar approach to any non-compliance identified.”
Further details of the audit
According to NMI, its trade measurement inspectors visited 328 retail fuel sites across Australia and tested 1,340 fuel pumps during the April audit.
Over seven per cent – 97 – of the fuel pumps tested were found to be inaccurate outside the 0.3 per cent maximum permissible error (MPE) allowed under Australia’s trade measurement laws. This included 65 pumps, or almost one-in-20 of those tested, that were delivering less than indicated on the display.
Six companies have also received warning letters following the audit campaign.