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Petrol station owners to face heavier fines for meter rigging

Update: October, 07/2013 - 09:28
Petrol stations found scamming customers will face a fine of up to VND50 million (US$2,400) and have their business licence revoked following a new decree which comes into force next Thursday.— File Photo

HA NOI (VNS)— Petrol stations found scamming customers will face a fine of up to VND50 million (US$2,400) and have their business licence revoked following a new decree which comes into force next Thursday.

As a result, those who intentionally rig pump meters or commit similar frauds will be fined VND50 million instead of the VND30 million ($1,400) that was stipulated in the previous decree issued in 2011.

The new regulation also states that enterprises which mix petrol with cheaper substances to increase profit margins will be fined up to 2.5 times the value of the petrol.

"I really hope that the decree will discourage fraudulent activities at petrol stations, which are becoming quite widespread and directly affect consumers' interests," said Pham Hong Xuan, a resident of Ha Dong District, adding that she herself witnessed a scam take place at a local filling station several weeks ago.

As a state official, vice head of the Ha Noi Market Watch Nguyen Dac Loc said that the decree rectified the shortcomings of its predecessor.

"The new decree specifies the fine imposed for the adulteration of petrol with other cheaper substances, which was not stipulated in Decree 97," Loc told the Nguoi lao dong (The Labourer) newspaper.

However, according to Nguyen Van Truong from Dong Da District, the fines are still not high enough to deter violators from continuing because the huge profits they earn fraudulently far outweighed the fines they could have to pay.

"Authorities should not only impose heavier punishment on violators but also strengthen inspections of petrol trading to detect frauds which are not easily discovered by customers," Truong added.

Under the newly-issued document, stations using inaccurate devices in which the error is of a technical nature will receive fines of VND10-20 million ($480-960)

In addition, petrol stations and exporters engaging in any one of the above violations will have their licenses for petrol trading and export withdrawn for up to six months and could even be forced to halt their business altogether for up to three months.

So far this year, the Ha Noi Department of Science and Technology has carried out inspections of 31 filling stations and imposed fines totalling VND15 million on administrative violations in petroleum trading.

Inspections will be also conducted in another 50 stations by the end of this year, according to the department vice director, Vu Nhu Hanh. —VNS

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