Wed, Sep 21, 2005 - Page 10 News List

Foundation reacts to gas-station survey


Most drivers don't hear about gas price hikes until they arrive at gas stations to refuel and the majority of customers aren't clearly informed about price hikes when they arrive there, Consumers' Foundation (消基會) chairman Jason Lee (李鳳翱) said yesterday.

The foundation held a news conference in Taipei to publicize the results of a survey of 98 gas stations in centers including Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung between last Thursday and Monday.

The survey found that 54 percent of the gas stations did not erect notices of fuel-price increases. Of the 46 percent that did, more than a half displayed the notices in difficult-to-see spots, such as at fuel tanks or in offices, Lee said.

He said that a similar survey in the US found that almost all gas stations there have huge signs outside informing customers of the day's pump prices, enabling drivers to decide whether they should patronize these stations or not.

As fierce competition has recently led to chaotic pricing strategies among Formosa Petrochemical Corp's (台塑石化) contracted gas stations, some operators used banners advertising "No price hikes. NT$1.5 less" to solicit prospective customers. However, without marking their original pump prices, no comparisons can be made and controversies can therefore arise, the foundation said.

"It's all about the right of consumers to know," Lee said. "In Taiwan, the consumer always seem to be the last to know."

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