The Westchester County Board of Legislators unanimously passed legislation on Tuesday that addresses deceptive trade practices in gasoline pricing signs.
The by county legislator Michael Kaplowitz (D-Somers) due to the absence of gasoline signs indicating higher prices for payments made by debit or credit cards.
The revised law would specifically affect gas station owners prohibiting them from misleading the public on those prices. Instead of displaying just the visible from the road cash price, and then have different credit prices visible when someone drives up to the pump, gas station owners would have to prominently display both.
If they fail to display the difference in prices, they could be fined up to $1,000 for each day they're in violation.
When the law is signed by county executive Rob Astorino, the new bill will take effect in six months.
"Hard-working Westchester residents should not be lured into a gas station with posted signage of a cash price for gasoline that is substantially lower than the debit or credit price at the pump," said Kaplowitz, who serves as the Environment and Energy Committee Chairman. "I’m pleased that my colleagues on the county board recognized this deceptive trade practice as ‘bait-and-switch’ and joined me in voting to change our Consumer Protection Code to prohibit it."
that he believes the law would benefit customers and prices will come down as a result of competition among gas stations. He said the cost of the law is minimum, as gas station owners would only have to purchase signs, if they don't have them. They would have 60 days from the day the law is passed to purchase those signs.
Throughout Westchester County, some gas stations charge the same price for gasoline regardless of type of payment—cash, credit or debit—while others, claiming that debit and credit cards fees from banks eat into their profits, charge a discounted price for cash, Kaplowitz said.
"Customers have a right to know upfront how much a gallon of gasoline will cost at the pump—it shouldn’t come as a surprise," said Autobahn/Citgo Yorktown owner Ron Guarino, who supported Kaplowitz during his October press conference.
Watch the embedded YouTube video above of Kaplowitz's press conference in October. The video was provided by the Westchester County Board of Legislators.