Petrol retailers are being urged to discuss concerns about financial liability and forecourt-specific concerns with the advent of chip & pin technology with their card services companies.

It’s only 10 months until responsibility for fraudulent transactions falls on the retailer following the introduction of chip & pin, but forecourt operators have expressed concern that their specific needs are not being considered

properly in trials.

Ray Holloway, director of the PRA, said: “There are lots of issues for the sector to consider, especially with night pay. If the machine is passed through the hatch and a customer swipes their card three times, can they then walk away with the card and petrol in their cars leaving the retailer without a claim for fraudulent payment?”

Serving disabled drivers also poses a problem. Mark Bradshaw, chief executive of Garage Watch, which operates the Happy 2 Help scheme for disabled

drivers, said: “We’ve set up a network of more than 500 sites offering a manned service – without remote keypads, chip & pin poses a real problem because the whole purpose of Happy 2 Help is that disabled drivers don’t have to leave their vehicles.”

In response to these concerns, a spokeswoman for the Chip & Pin organisation said: “Health and safety outweighs all other laws in the forecourt sector and the problem with mobile pin pads is like the mobile phone issue on forecourts.”

She said in certain circumstances retailers should continue to use chip and signature and discuss the liability implication with their card companies in advance of the January 1, 2005 deadline when liability shifts to retailers.

“There’s no blanket agreement that liability will stay with the card company, but it is up for negotiation as long as they are equipped with chip & pin technology. We have been monitoring the top 45 businesses – two of which are BP and Shell – and identified problem areas. Texaco, Total and Shell all took part in the Northampton trial. BP is trialling it now, and Shell is beginning its rollout in April.”