With the recent drops in gas prices, drivers are elated that they can get more gas in their vehicles for far less. Unfortunately for some gas station owners, it means their pumps are not quite used to dropping the price and increasing the gas amount.
Typically, the state's weights and measures department handles discrepancies at the pump, but angry customers can sue if they do not get what they paid for. If you own a gas station and this happens to you, you are going to need the help of a good oil and gas lawyer.
When You Have a Pump and Price Discrepancy
The first time a customer notices and complains of a price discrepancy between your pumps and your advertised gas prices, you should do three things:
- refund the customer the difference
- shut down your station until the discrepancy is resolved
- contact a lawyer in case another customer files a small claims suit against you
Despite the fact that one customer files a small claims suit, it can turn into a much larger incident when other patrons of your station take notice that they might have paid too much for their gas as well. While it certainly was not your intention to take too much money from them, the customers do not see it that way. Having an attorney on your side right away resolves the problems before they are blown out of proportion.
Contact Your State's Weights and Measures Department
Even though it might seem like you are blowing the whistle on yourself, the fact remains that you are trying to report a problem with your pumps and you need this department's help in making them work better. An inspector from your state's weights and measures department will schedule a day and time when he or she can come to your gas station and sort out the problem with your pumps.
Usually, it is just something mechanical, and it is quickly fixed. Be sure to give the report of the repairs to your lawyer as well as any documentation that shows the number of customers that might have been affected by the dysfunctional pumps.
Referring Angry Customers to Your Lawyer
Having an oil and gas attorney on retainer means that when a problem like this arises, you can refer angry customers to your lawyer. Your first step should always be to resolve the issue with the customers first, and in the best way possible, but if they threaten to sue, then you are covered. Your lawyer like one from Roberts Miceli Boileau & Doutt LLP can also intervene on your behalf with the state's weights and measures department, who may not be as lenient as you would hope for being honest about your pump problems. Either way, you have someone working out the issues and covering your backside legally.