WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Short, tall and wide: Gas station signs come in all shapes and sizes, but soon the signs will have to look more alike. "I think that's good because I don't like to be fooled," said Lynette Colvin.
The Consumer Watchdog found drivers, like Colvin, have been fooled for years, with many complaining to the county some signs don't make clear the price advertised is only if you pay cash. "I felt cheated. I felt that was false advertising," said Colvin.
After the Consumer Watchdog investigation last fall, the county voted to regulate gas station signs, recently sending out a letter reminding them of the new rules.
Some gas station owners are unhappy about this. "We're advising our colleagues to ignore the letter as of right now," said Kevin Dalton, who owns gas stations in Palm Beach County.
The letter explains the signs should show the highest price for gas.
Stations can still post the cheaper cash price, but the lettering must be six inches tall, and the price must be posted for every grade of gas sold indicating it's the cash price. Some stations are using double signs to accomplish this.
But Dalton thinks stations will be paying too much for new signs. "This law is not good for the consumer. It's going to drive gas prices up a few pennies because we're all going to have to spend anywhere from a low end of $2,000 to a high end of maybe $15 to $20,000 to accommodate a silly, silly law," said Dalton.
The ordinance will be enforced by Palm Beach County's Consumer Affairs Division. "My response would be just post the maximum prices and then there wouldn't be that enormous expense," said Palm Beach County Consumer Affairs Director, Eugene Reavis.
But, even doing that will be tough for some stations because the ordinance also requires the price be posted for every grade of gas sold.
Stations have always been required to post the prices for all grades of gas. It's just that the county never enforced that rule until now. "There seems to be a lot of mixed signage going on," said the Consumer Watchdog.
"Yeah and that creates even more confusion," said Reavis.
Right now, every city in the county has agreed to implement this county ordinance, but now some gas stations are going to their individual city or town asking them for a simpler ordinance.
Palm Beach Gardens is one city looking at the issue.
The stations have until May 2015 to fix their signs. That's when the county could begin issuing warnings and/or fines to stations that don't comply.