Wawa Pumps Idled by Pricing Error

Published in CSP Daily News

Retailer making it up to customers with free coffee; Delta station owner fined over fuel violations

PHILLIPSBURG, N.J. -- The Warren County, N.J., Department of Weights & Measures ordered gasoline sales suspended at a Wawa store in Phillipsburg, N.J., for five days over conflicting advertisements of gasoline prices; however, Lori Bruce, spokesperson for the convenience chain, told the Express-Times that sales records indicate no one was charged an inaccurate price.

"The computer system, the pumps themselves and the street signs were all accurate and reflecting the current and accurate price," Bruce told the newspaper. "A manual price sign on top of the pump had not been updated and reflected a slightly lower price for a short period of time."

She added, "At all times, we charged the correct price for fuel--the price displayed both on the digital sign on the street and on the digital reading on the fuel dispenser."

Still, the Warren County, N.J., Department of Weights & Measures ordered gasoline sales suspended at the location for five days, said the report.

"We made an honest mistake," Wawa chief operating officer David Johnston said in an advertisement running in the Express-Times. The store is offering free coffee through Friday to "ease the inconvenience" to customers, the advertisement added.

Orange cones were placed in front of the 12 pumps, the report said, and each pump also had a sign announcing the closure.

Bruce said customers who are dissatisfied can contact the general manager.

Wawa Inc., a privately held company based in Wawa, Pa., operates more than 580 stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.

Also in New Jersey, the owner of five Delta gas stations with a history of motor fuels law violations has been assessed $5,000 in civil penalties for operating without motor fuels retail dealer licenses and upon payment will be issued conditional license renewals that can be revoked, and his stations closed, if further violations occur.

The actions against Irfan Hassan are a coordinated enforcement effort by the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs' Office of Weights & Measures (OWM) and the Division of Taxation within the New Jersey Department of Treasury.

Stations owned by Hassan have been cited and prosecuted by OWM officers for violations including co-mingling regular with premium grade fuel, which results in lower octane ratings; selling regular grade gasoline from a premium grade fuel dispenser at the premium grade price; and pump prices not matching the prices displayed on signs.

In 2009, Hassan was cited by OWM officers for co-mingling regular grade gasoline with premium grade at his Delta Gas Station in South Orange. He paid a $6,000 civil penalty and was barred from selling fuel for 10 days, under a ruling by a municipal court judge. Last year, Hassan again was found guilty of selling regular grade gasoline as premium grade at this same station. He paid a $9,800 penalty and was barred from selling fuel for 15 days.

The Division of Taxation assessed $1,000 penalties, and upon payment, plans to issue a one-year conditional license renewal to the following companies owned by Hassan:

  • Fidelity Builders Inc.,  Bayonne.
  • Fidelity Builders Inc., Bayonne.
  • Friends Gas Inc., East Orange.
  • Signature Fuels Inc., West Orange.
  • Signature Fuel Inc., South Orange.