Petrol pumps in India are a hub for cheating tricks, frauds, and scams. Learning about them might save you from being their next victim of cheating. Here are 10 common cheating tricks that
1. Lesser fuel due to a malicious electronic chip
Never request for fuel in common denominations such as ₹100, ₹500 or ₹1000. Some Fuel pumps have electronic chips installed that automatically dispense fuel lower than what is displayed. There have been many sting operations that have exposed this scam.
Solution: Ask for fuel in uncommon value such as ₹420 or ₹377
2. Deception through distraction
There are usually 2 attendants involved in this common scam. It is accomplished by distracting you away from the fuel/price meter.
You will ask for fuel worth ₹ 250 and the attendant will show you the zero to gain your trust and another will start small talk with you. The attendant will stop at ₹ 100 and tell you that he has filled fuel worth ₹ 100. You will inform the attendant that you had asked for ₹ 250. He will say that he had heard ₹ 100 and will tell you that he will fill another ₹ 150 and will act like he is resetting the meter while the other attendant continues with the pernicious conversation to keep you distracted. The meter continues from ₹ 100 and will stop at ₹ 150.
You end up paying ₹ 250 for fuel worth ₹ 150.
More about this scam here.
Solution: Always ensure zero before fuel dispenses and look at the meter even if someone is talking to you and insist for a read-out slip (Ask for bill not for card payment receipt) that gives you the amount of fuel that the machine has dispensed along with the volume of fuel.
3. Holding the fuel pump handle to create an
air lock or using long fuel dispensing pipes
In this fraud, after placing the nozzle in vehicle’s filling inlet the attendant doesn’t lock the pump handle. Instead, he keeps starting and stopping the fuel flow by repeatedly pressing the pump handle while filling fuel. Due to this, some quantity of fuel gets held back into the dispensing machine due to air locks. Studies show that you can lose up to 200 ml of petrol for every 10 liters dispensed using this method.
Unusually long fuel dispensers retain a lot of fuel that is counted by the meter but doesn’t reach your fuel tank. A good amount of fuel dispensed always remains as residual in the longer pipe, and when they roll it in, it is returned back.
Solution: Make sure that the fuel attendant locks the nozzle in vehicle’s filling inlet and doesn’t manually intervene until the auto cut-off point is reached
4. Blocking your view when you’re in a car
Fuel pumps take advantage of your comfort level and they will tell you the exact location where you need to stop/park. They will tell you to open the fuel lid and with the pull of a simple lever in the car, you will open the lid. Then he will ask you to check zero.
After that, he will stand in between your side mirror and fuel tank so that you cannot see what is happening. He will not fill but he will act like he is filling fuel in the car. Suddenly, the attendant will tell you that there was a power cut and will show you a previous reading and will excuse himself. After his return, he will continue filling from the last reading or he might reset it to zero and in the end, you will pay more than the fuel dispensed.
Solution: Get down from your car and look at the reading while he/she completes dispensing fuel.
5. Tearing of notes and returning them
True Story. We were scammed and ended up paying ₹ 500 extra.
One of us, let’s call him A, had brought ₹ 6,000 in ₹ 500 denominations.
After filling petrol worth ₹ 2,500, A went to pay the amount and took out the bundle of cash in front of the attendant, who discreetly alerted his accomplice. A counted 5 notes and gave it to the attendant and turned back to come to the car in which rest of us were waiting for him.
The attendant called back A and told him that some of the notes were torn and returned one and took another from A, shuffled the cash, and repeatedly gave and took notes. At the same time, in an inconspicuous manner slipped one note to his accomplice and suddenly stopped the exchange of notes with A and sent him away saying everything is fine now.
When A returned to the car and started counting the notes left, only then he realized that he was cheated and ended up giving ₹ 500 more.
Solution: Never pull out a cash bundle in a public place. Especially at a fuel pump.
I. Never tell them your PIN. If PIN was already entered, don’t enter your PIN again unless and until the transaction was canceled.
II. Keep exact change if paying through cash.
III. Air for vehicle’s tires, washroom, drinking water, and an emergency call at a fuel pump in India is free.
IV. Never fill “Premium” petrol in vehicles below
V. Always check which type of fuel the attendant if filling.
VI. If you feel like you were cheated, ask for a complaint book from the attendant, and write down the complaint. They will try to make an excuse, tell them you are calling the company customer care and will complain about them if your demand is not met.
VII. Make sure you meet the outlet manager. Also, ask for their phone numbers.
VIII. Make a scene. Scream at them and be tough in front of other customers, if you are sure that you were cheated.
IX. Open your fuel lid, only when the meter is reset to 0.
X. Get out of your vehicle and stand next to the attendant filling fuel; make it hard for them to cheat you.
How to Complain when cheated?
If you were cheated, you can complain to the fuel company (HPCL, BPCL or IOC). Here are some customer care numbers of these companies and also web portals for registering complaints online. Explain the exact issue in detail to get a quick resolution from them.
HPCL Web Portal – http://retailcms.hpcl.co.in/retailcms/registeruserissue.aspx
HPCL Customer Care Phone – 155233 / 1800 2333 555
BPCL Web Portal – http://ebiz.bpc.co.in/ccs/complaintCreation.faces?form1:sbu=1000
BPCL Customer Care Phone – 155233/ 1800222725
IOC Web Portal/Customer Care – https://www.iocl.com/TollFreeCellNumber.aspx