HC Deb 26 March 1973 vol 853 cc903-4
14. Mrs. Sally Oppenheim

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he will make an order under Section 9 of the Trade Descriptions Act 1968 to regulate misleading advertisements for cut-price petrol.

Mr. Emery

No, Sir. False or misleading indications of the price of goods are already dealt with in Section 11 of the Act.

Mrs. Oppenheim

Would not my hon. Friend agree that the Gloucester County solicitor has made representations to his Department through the County Councils Association in regard to the need for these regulations and that most people take petrol offers advertised as 3p off the pump price or 3p off a grade of petrol to mean a reduction of 3p per gallon in the price, only to discover when it is too late, when their petrol tanks have been filled, that it means 3p off the total price? In the interests of fair trading, such advertisements should not be misleading but should disclose the true price of the petrol offered for sale.

Mr. Emery

Section 9, I think, will not deal with this. Section 11 might. Over four years there have been over 1,000 successful prosecutions, over 40 relating to solid and liquid fuels. As from 1st March this year the report of such prosecutions as my hon. Friend was talking about may have the type of effect she wants.

Mr. Harper

Would not the hon. Gentleman agree that the position is even worse than the hon. Lady has made out? All one sees when flashing past a petrol station is "8p off", but that is only when one has filled up and it is 8p off 16 gallons, which makes it about ½p a gallon. What will the Minister do about that one?

Mr. Emery

Other than not drive quite so fast, I believe that the point made by the hon. Member is covered by the prosecution so successfully conducted at Aylesbury, where it was made quite clear that, although there had been a reduction at the pump, the advertising was misleading; because of the misleading advertising the prosecution was successful.