*There is an update to this episode at the end of this post*
People cheat. There’s no escaping it. No matter how alert you are, only a matter of time you let your guard down and.. boom!
I am a car guy &
like love driving. Whether it’s helping others buy cars or plan car trips, I take pride in helping people to avoid getting scammed /places that cheat people. One such concern is petrol bunks. There are many ways a petrol bunk operator can cheat you. There is one pet favourite of all cheating petrol bunks. And I fell prey to it yesterday.
Yesterday, I drove to HRBR Layout on some work and the car was running out of fuel. Noticed a HP Petrol bunk near Hennur Bus Depo & proceeded to get Rs.500 worth petrol for the car. Here is the sequence of events:
*I drive the car infront of the pump*
Attendant1 (at the pump on the passenger window side): “Saar how much?”
Attendant2 (standing next to the driver window side): “How much saar?”
Me (seated in the driver seat,turn to the right to answer): “Rs.500″
A2 to A1: “Aye put 500″
*I turn left towards A1/petrol pump to check zero, while taking my credit card out from my wallet”
A1: “Saar see zero”
*A1 inserts nozzle inside the tank & at THAT VERY moment..”
A2: “Saar give saaar” (asking for cash/card)
*I turn right to A2 & hand over my card. Before I turn back to the pump..”
A2: “Saar you have payback card?”
Me: “No” and I turn towards the pump
*I notice A1 punching in Rs.100 in the pump with the nozzle in his hand”
A1: “Saar ok Rs.100 put”
Me: “I asked for Rs.500″
A1: “Oh 500aaa I thought 100″ punches Rs.400 and starts the nozzle.
Me: “I said 500 why are putting 400″
A1: “That time I put 100 now 400 so 500 ok saar”
Me: “I saw you punching 100. Don’t bullshit me.”
*By then I knew I was scammed. Had faced similar distracting moves earlier at other bunks but was alert”
A2: *comes with card swipe receipt for 500*
*Lot of argument ensues with the bouncer type attendants*
Me (to A2): “I know you assholes scammed me. Good for you” and drove away.
So, here is what you should do and should not do at a petrol bunk to avoid getting scammed this way:
What you SHOULD DO:
- After you stop infront of the pump, engage the car handbrake and get out of the car.
- Stand near the fuel tank & tell the attendant how much fuel you want.
- If the pump has keypad to enter amount of fuel in litres/value, ask attendant to punch in the value & not just pump directly.
- Keep your eyes on the gauge to make sure it is zero. If the attendant is in a hurry,ask him to wait for zero.
- Now keep your eyes on the nozzle, ask the attendant to remove his hands from the nozzle since the pump auto stops after punched in value has been pumped.
- Ensure the value is displayed on the gauge.
- Now take out your wallet & pay the cash/card.
What you should NOT DO:
- Do not sit inside the car if you can get out as mentioned above.
- If the fuel station is too crowded /or cannot get out of the car,roll up the driver side window and keep your eyes glued on the fuel pump.
- DO NOT take out your cash/card until the fuel has been pumped completely.
- No matter what, DO NOT TURN AWAY FROM THE PUMP.
I had written to HP customer care regarding my experience at their outlet on 22 July 2012. Today i.e 24 July 2012, I received a call from Mr. Vasu AP, Manager of the aforementioned HP Fuel Station called me & apologized unconditionally and requested details of the car & card transaction number so that he can check who were the attendants who handled the service during my visit and assured to call me within a day with the details and to ensure I get a refund. I was pleasantly surprised by this. Will update on any further developments.
The manager of the Company Owned Company Operated pump station contacted me & informed that the two attendants have been suspended & invited me to his pump so they can refund the money. I was busy & could not take time to drive all the way to the pump. The owner was unyielding & continued to call me on my phone to get me to the pump. I told him it is fine & I am not looking for a refund. Then he said he has instructed the attendants to personally meet me, refund the money from their pocket & get a letter signed from me that I have forgiven them.
Now the attendants started calling me, requesting me to let them know where they can meet me so they can apologize & get their jobs back.
I met the attendant who manned the pump, who returned the money to me, I wrote a letter saying I have forgiven his cheating episode & have no problem if he is allowed to work at the pump. The cashier was nowhere to be seen/heard.