Petrol station owners who are proved to steal customers through special pumps for manipulating petrol pump data will be punished up to five years of imprisonment and a fine twice the illegally acquired amount. Draconian measures for speculators and inaccurate traders will be introduced at the beginning of the year. The draft should be voted by mid-January 2011.
Deputy Regional Development Minister Dinos Rovlyas said that such violations have been unnoticed because of omissions in the system but vowed that the new law will change this.
"We fully support the idea of the Ministry to impose tough penalties to fraudsters who use electronic pumps to manipulate the data to the detriment of the customer," they said from the union of petrol stations owners. The president of the union Michalis Kyusis stressed that the organization has repeatedly signaled a similar offenses, but the government is only now showing signs of readiness to take active steps. According to employed in the sector, petrol stations that offered lower fuel prices than the average market price over the years are those that have perfected ‘saving’ through defrauding consumers. After the union warned about unreasonably lower fuel prices in certain stations in mid-December 2010 the supervisory authorities found the electronic devices with which petrol retailers have profited illegally.
After carrying out a serious investigation on the issue of manipulation of petrol pumps, the Ministry of Regional Development announced that the annual profit of inaccurate traders was around 400,000 euros. The price of a similar device on the black market is between € 1,000 and € 5,000 and the damages were within 5% -10% of each fueling.
"We've repeated many times that an effective electronic system to control the fuel track - from refinery to petrol stations in the neighbourhoods – have to be introduced. This is the only way to stop phenomena such as black marketing of fuels and manipulating pumps for consumers," they explained from the union. They insist the control systems to be placed at the inlet and the outlet of each unit included in the marketing of fuels so as to electronically monitor their movement. The union of petrol stations owners recommends the specialized control program Poseidon to be installed on all cargo ships transporting fuel.