Pakistan State Oil (PSO) recently came under heavy fire as it was reported that the Competition Commission of Pakistan (CCP) imposed a fine of PKR 150 million on the company. Several reports suggested that the hefty fine was imposed on PSO because it was running a misleading marketing campaign about its products, “Premier XL” petrol and “Green Plus” diesel, which violated Section 10 of the Competition Act, 2010.
The CCP panel that imposed the fine included the Chairperson Vadiyya Khalil and Members Dr. Shahzad Ansar and Ikram Ul Haque Qureshi. Also, CCP conducted an inquiry after receiving a complaint which suggested that since 2003/2004 PSO has been claiming that use of Premier XL and Green Plus will improve the mileage and performance of the car’s engine due to use several additives. However, the inquiry further revealed that the company discontinued the use of additives in its products but the marketing campaign alongside its products remained in place to date.
Moreover, the wrong claims made by the company about its product led customers to believe that they are buying higher quality fuel compared to others.
In addition to imposing the fine, CCP has asked PSO to stop the use of Premier XL, Green Plus and its marketing campaign within 30 days in order to remove the impression that PSO products are environment friendly and premium.
If this wasn’t enough, CCP also asked PSO to inform the general public about running a deceptive marketing campaign and discontinuation of additives in their products in all Urdu and English newspapers for at least 7 days and also submit the compliance report to the authority with 45 days from that date the order was issued.
The news has spread negative sentiments among the customers and it also dented competition between PSO and its rivals.