Gas price mix up: The sign says one thing, but you pay another

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jul 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-05 18:57:23-04

We all know what it feels like when you're being nickel and dimed for gas, especially in the summer when prices normally peak.

Adding insult to injury, I came across  a situation at the pump today were the numbers were simply just not matching up.

At the Marathon gas station sign on the corner of Lorain and Fulton avenues in Ohio city, gas is marked at $2.19.

“We thought, oh wow, that’s cheap, so let’s pull into to get gas,” said Reagan Bishop, a customer opening her tank to fill up.

But that's not what you’ll end up paying.

“I’m a little shocked because I believed in the people that was here,” said Carloss, who’s been coming to this gas station for years.

When I went to fill up, I paid $2.30 for each gallon, that’s an 11 cent difference from what was advertised. So I asked the manager about it?

“We can only put one price on the sign,” said Al Alan, manager, of the family owned Marathon gas station.

I asked him if he could see how people would think the sign was misleading, and he said, “I understand that but it’s not like it’s nothing new. It goes on in other states, it’s been going on it other states.”

He explained the price on the sign is the cash only price, and there's a 10 cent charge for anyone using a credit card, and says people should read the labels on the pumps where it’s indicated.

“It’s about do you want to get, do you want to pay as the owner or are the customer’s going to pay the fees,” he said.

When I asked him, if realistically, he thought people would really look at the small label on the pump…he replied, “they need to.”

But would most people know that's the cash only price?

“No probably not, especially since they’re not advertising this way,” said Bishop.

“I never noticed that credit cards were more expensive at the pump,” said Penn Bernes, another customer I spoke to.

Just down the street, I found another gas station, also part of the Marathon franchise, listing the prices loud and clear; with two prices, one indicating the cash only price and the other the credit card price.

Meanwhile customers tell me they'll think twice before stopping through.

Carloss said, “When you grew up in the environment around here you believe they’re your friends…it’s a disappointment.”

“It was only a half a tank luckily, I didn’t get gouged too much,” Bishop responded.

I spoke with other gas station owners today, and they did tell me the credit card charge is quite normal however it can vary anywhere from 3 to 10 percent, depending on the brand of the gas station and the market at the time.

I also reached out to the Attorney General's Office, they said if you have a complaint about this or any other advertising or pricing issues where you've felt mislead, you should contact them as soon as possible so they can look into the situation.

As of right now, the manager of that marathon gas station told me he has no plans on changing their sign anytime soon.