Lao EconomyRules and Law

Authorities Warn Petrol Stations Not To Cheat Customers

Source: Vientiane Times

Several petrol stations in Vientiane and Khammuan province have been warned against cheating their customers following recent inspections made by authorities.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has led authorities in inspecting the quality and quantity of fuel pumped at petrol stations in recent months with the checks now finished in Vientiane and Khammuan.

Acting Director General of the ministry’s Standardisation and Metrology Department, Mr Viengthong Vongthavilay, told Vientiane Times on Thursday that authorities found several fuel stations cheating their customers, notably those in the suburbs.

Stations that failed to pump accurate amounts or sold substandard fuel have firstly been warned. If they reoffend they will be fined and could have their licences revoked.

“We are now looking at Savannakhet and Borikhamxay provinces and might start our second round of inspections this year to see whether previously warned stations have improved their standards based on our recommendations,” Mr Viengthong said.

However, the Standardisation and Metrology Department was unwilling to give the number and names of petrol stations caught cheating, saying they were still in the initial stage of their investigations.

During the inspections, petrol stations that failed to sell the correct amount of fuel had their bowser meters re-set based on proper and accepted standards.

The authorities also checked for dirty fuel which not only damages engines but also affects the reputation of vehicle and fuel businesses in Laos.

Unclean fuel could be the result of the poor management of imported oil, resulting in petrol stations buying fuel from anyone at a cheap price, regardless of quality.

Since August last year, fuel inspection teams have been based in 14 border checkpoints to scrutinise the quality of imported petrol and diesel before it enters Laos.

Inspection teams are about to be dispatched to two other border checkpoints as part of efforts to examine imported oil and prevent contaminated products from entering the country.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has vowed that all fuel will be tested at border checkpoints before being distributed to petrol stations.

The ministry is also committed to regularly checking petrol stations, particularly those at which many people prefer to fill up, as part of the government’s efforts to protect consumers’ rights.

Laos imports all of its fuel from other countries, but there are no official reports as to the exact amount coming into the country for 2014 to 2016.

The latest figure released in 2013 had Laos importing more than 911 million litres of fuel with 45 to 50 percent of that sold in the capital and Vientiane province.