Columns & Advice
Pay before you pump. It’s a simple concept that might soon become the norm at gas stations in Ontario after the tragic death of a clerk pursuing a gas thief – who is now wanted for second-degree murder.
It’s not a new idea. In fact, many Ontario stations already have a “pay-first” policy for overnight shifts. Some owners, tired of being crime victims time and time again, have instituted “pay-first” all the time.
Yet, despite the many good reasons for making “pay-first” the law, the crybabies amongst us think it will be “too inconvenient” to put the safety of station attendants first.
Some of the whiny complaints I’ve heard include:
It’ll make the queue to pay longer. Whether before or afterward, you still have to make that one trip inside to pay cash – unless you had no intention of paying – so what difference does it make?
I want to fill up and don’t know how much to prepay. Guess what? Your car doesn’t care if you fill the tank completely or not. If it’s of such paramount importance to you, then overpay and go back afterward for your change. Personally, I’d rather just guess low at an amount that I’m sure it can take, to skip that second trip.
What if I prepaid $60 cash, for example, and they say I only gave $40 when I return for change? You get a receipt showing the pre-pay amount and pump number when you pay first. You can also get a second receipt for the full transaction once completed.
What if I accidentally exceed the prepaid amount? When you prepay, the pump shuts off automatically when the authorized amount is reached.
What if they mistakenly think I drove off without paying? Not likely if “pay-first” becomes law. Anyhow, you have your prepay receipt. The only thing you can drive off without is your change, if any is owed.
The retailer will pass on equipment update costs to the consumer. Current equipment at virtually all major retailers can already accommodate prepayments.
Gas thefts are ultimately paid for by honest consumers through higher prices. Retailer losses should drop with “pay-first.” Additionally, the passing of counterfeit bills is deterred, since the clerk will have plenty of time to examine the bill – and can summon police while the perpetrator is still there or even shut off the pump mid-fill to mitigate losses – if they suspect fraud.
Want to skip the line altogether? Use a credit card; some offer additional gas savings, points or a rebate program as a bonus. Virtually all major retailers have pay-at-the-pump for credit cards, some may take debit too, so prepaying really only affects those who pay cash. Points cards can also be used at the pump.
Granted, a few retailers may have outdated equipment without pay-at-the-pump and auto shut-off etc., so some delays may result.
If “pay-first” does become law, all these silly complaints will likely fade into history – along with deadly drive-away gas thefts.
Columns & Advice
Everything you need to know about purchasing, maintaining and driving your car.
Become a member
Register now to access all features including:
- Save and ask friends to review vehicles
- Exclusive rebates & offers from local dealers
- Premium content, reviews and tools
All for free!
Already a member?
Registration 2 of 2
Welcome to Wheels!
As a final step we've sent a confirmation to your email address as a security measure. Please click the link in the email to complete your registration.
Terms of services
DISCLAIMER OF WARRANTIES AND LIMITATION OF LIABILITY
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, TORONTO STAR IS PROVIDING THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES ON AN "AS IS" AND â€œAS AVAILABLEâ€ BASIS AND MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE, IN ANY CONNECTION WITH THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEB SITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. TORONTO STAR DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTION OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THEIR CONTENTS WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE, THAT DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES OR THE SERVERS THAT MAKE IT AVAILABLE ARE FREE OF VIRUSES OR OTHER HARMFUL COMPONENTS.
TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE, SHALL TORONTO STAR BE LIABLE FOR ANY LOSS OF USE, LOSS OF DATA, LOSS OF INCOME OR PROFIT, LOSS OF OR DAMAGE TO PROPERTY, OR FOR ANY DAMAGES OF ANY KIND OR CHARACTER (INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION ANY COMPENSATORY, INCIDENTAL, DIRECT, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES), EVEN IF TORONTO STAR HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES OR LOSSES, ARISING OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE USE OF THE TORONTO STAR WEBSITES, THEIR CONTENTS, OR ANY WEBSITE OR CONTENTS WITH WHICH IT IS LINKED. IN NO EVENT SHALL TORONTO STARâ€™S TOTAL LIABILITY FOR ALL DAMAGES, LOSSES, AND CAUSES OF ACTION, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, TORT (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, NEGLIGENCE), OR OTHERWISE, EXCEED THE AMOUNT PAID BY YOU FOR ACCESSING THIS SITE.X