Cheating at petrol pumps?

A couple of months back, I stopped at a petrol pump and requested the attendant to dispense petrol worth Rs. 1,000. As I stepped out of my car to stretch my legs, the attendant called his assistant, instructed him to dispense petrol worth Rs. 1,000, and went off to attend to another customer. The assistant reset the reading to 0.00, pointed it out to me and started dispensing the petrol. He stopped dispensing when the meter reading was Rs. 300.00. When I asked him why he had stopped at Rs. 300.00, he replied that that was the amount mentioned by his senior.

The attendant, who had come back to collect my payment, overheard this conversation. He apologized to me for his assistant’s carelessness, instructed the assistant to dispense an additional Rs. 700.00 worth of petrol, collected my payment and started preparing my bill. He asked me whether I wanted my car’s registration number to be mentioned on the bill, and I replied that I didn’t.

As I collected the bill, the assistant had stopped dispensing petrol, and the meter reading was Rs. 700.00. When I asked him why he had stopped at Rs. 700.00, he replied that he had reset the reading to 0.00 before dispensing petrol worth Rs. 700.00. In a raised voice, I told the assistant that I had clearly seen him start the second time at Rs. 300.00; he had not reset the meter to 0.00 as he claimed.

Hearing me speak in a raised voice, the attendant asked me what had happened. When I explained to him, he requested me not to worry, checked a reading on another meter, agreed that his assistant had not reset the meter to 0.00 the second time, and instructed the assistant to dispense a further Rs. 300.00 worth of petrol. The assistant did as instructed.

I got the feeling that the whole thing was pre-planned, including the attendant trying to distract me by engaging me in a conversation about whether I wanted my car’s registration number to be mentioned on the bill, and that it was because I had stepped out of my car that I had prevented the attendant and his assistant from cheating me. However, I had no proof. I just decided to be watchful during future visits to any petrol pump.

Believe it or not, I’ve experienced the same sequence of events, with slight variations, on four more occasions, twice at the same petrol pump and twice at another petrol pump. I am now convinced that this is completely pre-planned, and I suspect something similar must be happening at other petrol pumps as well. Hence, I decide to share my experience in this blog post.

Do you agree with me, or do you think this is just my paranoid overreaction?

Whatever you think, whenever you refuel your car at any petrol pump, do make it a point to step out of your car and keep an eye on the meter readings. If I’m correct, you would have ensured that you are not cheated. Even if all this is just my paranoid overreaction, you would have had the satisfaction of burning a few more calories by stepping out of your car, standing for a couple of minutes and getting back into your seat!

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15 thoughts on “Cheating at petrol pumps?

  1. I do not think that you are being suspicious without reason. You did not jump to a conclusion after just one such experience. It is too bad that people have to be watched closely at a store, a petrol pump or elsewhere when serving customers. It is better to be alert and not give them the opportunity to commit such actions. I feel sorry though for the elderly who can be taken advantage of at many of these places.

  2. Yes, I have experienced this at an HP pump close to my house in Andheri West. In fact after I had a shouting “match” with the “manager”, he apologized and the attendant actually begged me not to do anything further – else he would loose his job…… All pre-planned….

    Also, once I filled petrol in my car at the HP pump next to Marol metro station Andheri East. The car has a tank capacity of 35L – and the receipt actually showed 42 L ! The cash receipt was also for the equivalent amount ! When I pointed this to the manager – he profusely apologized and gave me a receipt for 32L and took money for this – saying that the 42L was “obviously a mistake”… What if I was not vigilant????? – would he have admitted the mistake???

  3. This is new and quite shocking. Since in Delhi, cheating is a common phenomenon, people are generally extra careful. Hence, it’s a common practice for us to get out of the car when getting the fuel filled, as well as check the meter reading. But, if you’ve experienced it multiple times, it must not be just a hunch, but actually a cheating game. Good you put it on blog.

  4. 🙂 That happens all the time. They rely on people to just accept what they do and push off. And most times, they are ready to apologize to the very few who notice and observe. You are not paranoid.- and I am glad it all worked out for you!

  5. You are absolutely right. It is happening all around us, not just in the petrol pumps but also in other places like ration shop where they cheat us on the kilo’s. We need to keep an eye on things so that we don’t get cheated easily. Good that you did it. And thanks for sharing it!

    • In these days of high prices of essential commodities, everybody feels the need to make an extra buck. Some manage to do it the honest way. Some others try to make the extra buck by unfair means. We have to be watchful.

  6. I agree with you ! I am very particular, whenever I stop for petrol for my bike, I keep looking at the meter, to ensure that it is zero; and the one filling the petrol will be so impatient, and one can see the way the meter speeds up in no time, I start doubting whether the actual amount petrol is filled in … very important to stand and notice the meter, and then only pay … appreciate you for sharing .

  7. Oh! You are not being paranoid. A friend narrated a similar experience a few days ago. This surely is a pre-planned way to cheat unsuspecting customers. Good that you didnt fall into their trap!

  8. After all this do you still tip the attendant ?! I have never owned a car (or house) in India but did pay the tip (expected) after refueling my Luna. Self service pumps is the answer !!!

  9. I never take my eyes off the meter.
    P.S – Am sure even the meters are rigged to gallop faster than the actual petrol put in.
    Plus, the petrol put in is already adulterated.
    So, cynically & helplessly accepting the above 2 facts, I atleast minimize the damage by being attentive fully.
    No, you are not paranoid.

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