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The price of petrol and diesel is increasing all the time. How do I know I am getting the right amount?

Legal Metrology has a countrywide programme of inspection of retail petrol and diesel pumps. Inspectors check that the amount dispensed is within legal tolerances (that is between -0.5% and +1%) and that all adjustable components are sealed. Always check that the display on the fuel pump indicates zero before you commence dispensing.

What does the e-mark on pre-packaged goods mean?

The e-mark is an EU-wide symbol used on boxes or containers of goods to denote that the package was packed according to the average system of quantity. The system works by allowing the product manufacturer to average the contents of a number of pre-packages over a batch during production. This means that the quantity of goods stated on the package is a reliable guide but may be greater or lesser by a small amount.

How are goods regulated that are not pre-packaged, such as petrol or loose fruit and vegetables?

Businesses which sell goods using measuring instruments, – e.g. weighing machines and petrol dispensers, are required by law to ensure that these instruments deliver at least the minimum quantity displayed. These instruments are inspected periodically by Legal Metrology inspectors.

How can I become an Authorised Verifier?

The Authorised Verifier Scheme allows for private companies to carry out national verifications of measuring instruments. Under Section 12 of the Metrology Act 1996, the Director of Legal Metrology can appoint bodies subject to certain conditions.  Since 2008 two tender processes have been launched to find companies interested in verification work. You can find out who the Authorised Verifiers are by going to our Authorised Verifier Scheme page which will be kept updated with the names of successful applicants.

I am a garage owner, how do I arrange for reverification of a petrol pump which has just been repaired?

You should contact one of the Authorised Verifiers appointed to carry out petrol pump verification. Their contact details can be found on our list of Authorised Verifier Scheme page under Liquid fuel dispensers.

I am a weighbridge owner, how do I arrange for reverification of my weighbridge which has just been repaired?

You should contact one of the Authorised Verifiers appointed to carry out weighbridge verification. Their contact details can be found on our list of Authorised Verifiers Scheme page.

How much can I expect to get if I order a port or sherry in a pub?

You can expect to get what the publican advertises for sale. Some publicans use the same measure as used for whiskey, gin, vodka etc – 35.5 ml. However, others pour directly into a glass and advertise they sell by glass.

There is no law to require the publican to sell these drinks by a particular amount but if it is stated that the sale relates to a particular quantity then you are entitled to that amount. If in doubt as what you are paying for ask the publican to explain how he charges.

I think the whiskey (vodka, etc.) I bought last night was watered. How can I find out is my suspicions are right?

If you think any alcoholic drink has been adulterated, that is, if you think water has been added then you should report your suspicions to the National Consumer Agency.  If you think the amount served to you was short you can forward your complaint to us.

I think the diesel fuel I purchased last week has damaged my car, I’m suspicious that the service station was selling inferior diesel. How can I find out if I’m right?

If you think that the fuel you purchased is not regular diesel you should report your suspicions to the Investigations and Prosecutions branch of Revenue Customs and Excise at 01 8277 500.

I have been told that there is a legal requirement for Retail Fuel Dispensers to have temperature compensation fitted, is this correct?

Subject to type approval of the Retail Fuel Dispenser, a temperature accounting device may be fitted to correct the volume display to reflect the product temperature at 15 Degrees Centigrade. This type of display is permitted provided that its presence is indicated adjacent to the volume display but it is not a mandatory requirement and is therefore entirely optional. It is not permitted to selectively activate or de-activate a temperature compensation facility once installed and verified.

A friend recently suggested that the trucks delivering home oil are calibrated from the oil tanker and not the end of the hose - is this true? and if so, are we billed for what is left in the hose?

No this is not true. There are two types of metering systems used in the delivery of home heating oil; wet hose where product remains within the hose at all times and dry hose where the product is pumped out as part of the delivery operation.

When a metering system for home heating oil is being verified by or under the authority of the NSAI Legal Metrology, the entire system including data capture units, pipe work, pumping facilities and air separators are taken into account.  Verification includes as assessment of the conformity of the measuring instrument to ensure that the correct features and facilities are present and accuracy tests using a calibrated standard which may be either a prover vessel or reference meter.  The characteristics of the hose including expansion and dilation and the product within the hose are included when accuracy tests are performed since the product does not enter the hose unless it is measured. In a dry hose system this issue does not arise as the hose is cleared on conclusion of the delivery.  

On successful conclusion of the tests, any devices that may have an influence on the metered quantity are secured with sealing devices and a verification mark is applied, where these a present and intact there is an assurance that the system as verified has not been adjusted or interfered with by an unauthorised party.