Paying More Than Actual Amount: The Overcharging CNG Stations And Our Ignorance

A Pakistani employee of a service statio

You are at a CNG station to get your cylinder refilled. Total dispensed amount is Rs. 447.15 but the cashier charges you Rs. 450 and you are happy to pay the same since most people are reluctant to quarrel for a mere 2 and a half rupees. That’s a common practice for a majority of the customers since they don’t ask for the remaining 1 or 2 rupee coins and are happy to leave it to the CNG stations.

Few days ago while getting the CNG refilled, the amount on the dispenser shown was Rs. 372 but after paying them with a 500 rupee note, the remainder I received was just Rs. 120, I called upon the cashier to ask why has he charged 8 rupees extra? And his answer was that they don’t have the coins with them. After a brief session of argue, I was able to get a 5 rupees coin back but still they charged 3 rupees more than the actual dispensed amount.

Since not many people like to create tussle for a few rupees, the station owners are heedless to charge extra amount against each refill on regular basis. It’s also interesting to note that if the amount is Rs. 348 they will shamelessly charge you Rs. 350 but if the amount is Rs. 351 they aren’t hesitant to charge you Rs. 355 for it. And the worst is that the people never argue.

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While it’s a whole different debate as to why the government hasn’t issued coins denominated in paisas since 1994, yet the petrol/ CNG and other items are still priced in paisas, but let’s just remain focused on our main debate. By paying an extra few rupees we just don’t realize how much profit the CNG station owners are making this way.

Let’s assume on a typical day that on average there are 16 vehicles filled with CNG during an hour on a single dispenser unit. Assuming on average the station owners charge Rs 2.5 more, which means average Rs. 40 are charged extra in a single hour via a single dispenser unit. If the CNG station has four operational dispensers then in a single hour they can earn Rs. 160 extra. And if the station is operated for say 16 hours in a day, that translates to roughly Rs. 2560 earned extra in a single day just by charging few extra coins. Multiply that with the number of days in a month, and you’ll find that in 30 days a typical CNG station can earn about Rs. 76,800 extra amount which may vary depending on the additional money they charge.

It’s not about leaving a couple of rupees extra, it’s about the right to pay the correct amount of money. No government institution will come to enforce a law to prevent the CNG station owners from charging an unjustified amount; it is ‘us’ who have to take step. If every one of us refuses to leave even a single rupee then these CNG stations can never charge us anything extra.

Though there are a handful of CNG stations which do charge you the exact amount and they have notices pasted on their vicinity instructing the consumers not to pay anything extra above the actual amount. But such stations are very few in numbers. It all depend on us whether to stand for our own right or just keep paying extra, hoping for some divine intervention to come sort things out for us.

Usman Ansari

An automotive enthusiast associated with the animation industry since 15 years having worked with leading organizations and production facilities across Pakistan.

  • Guest

    1. A few years ago, it used to be rounded to the nearest rupee. If it was 49 paisa or less, it was rounded down. Like for 350.49, you paid 350. If it was 377.52, you paid 378. Recently it has become to round UP to the nearest 10. Even 471 gets rounded up to 480.

    2. I have tried asking for it many times. The CNG station staff immediately becomes aggressive, threatening or shouting. On a certain CNG station, they have even threatened to beat me up if I continued to ask for my 2 rupees. It also shows our national behavior, we prefer giving 50 rupees in charity but deny 2 rupees to the person where we really owe it. Of course when I ask for 2 rupees, I ask for the 2 rupees I rightfully own, not beg for some 2 rupees charity. In fact they pay up to beggars

    3. There are long waiting lines, so the drivers in the queue also come up. Instead of pressurizing the CNG station to pay the rightful amount to purchaser of CNG, they pressurize the customer to move so they can get their turn as well. In fact it is because of this attitude that CNG stations have begun charging more. If all the customers would usually try to force the CNG staff to pay to the customer, the tables would have turned.

    4. Some CNG stations do not hire their own workers. They use a manpower supplier. Therefore in some cases, the staff members cheat (the person operating the dispenser), in some cases, the manpower contractor cheats (as a company level cheating), and in some cases, the CNG station owners also want to join the fun.
    Mostly, the CNG station will tally the money against the record of the dispensers (per shift or per day), and ask only that much money from the dispensing machine operator or from the labour contractor. It generally means that corruption is present at all levels.

    5. What I do is keep short change with me, and pay in coins. Sometimes they refuse to take coins too. Conclusion of the story is that they would get aggressive over any measure against their looting.

  • Adeel Qadir

    thats “being bad at maths” fine , why the @$*# are people still queuing up at CNG stations , if now is not the time to drive on petrol then when its gonna be. CNG guys just know thatvif u are in CNG line u would be bad at maths and common sense . period.

  • Hatrsgna Hat

    These workers work for less pay and in westren countries people working at gas stations(petrol pump)are given almost 10% to 20% on top of the total amount we should encourage this as this stops people from stealing and falling into other nonsense just for the sake of money.

  • usman niazi

    rather than you guys fighting and debating about this… why not try to avoid any conflict at all? keep a change of 10 rupees in your car all the time… done… solved… move along

  • Jayy Khan

    One of my uncle visited from the United Kingdom and he was driving a CNG car and will always get in an argument with CNG staff, at first he was really annoying then I realized its actually quite wrong that they don’t let you keep 1 Rupee while they charge you extra 5-9 Rs without Hesitating, One day we had proper argument with the staff at a local CNG and i was going to beat him up but he paid me the money. Its about whats right and whats wrong. TBH thats the problem with us all, last month Chaudary Nisar ordered everyone to queue in a line at Registration office Islamabad. Some Fat ass people who call themselves the VIP’s didnt want to wait so they try to skip the queue, If someone get into an argument with them, some smartass from the queue will shake his head and let them inside the queue not realizing that its not his call to make. either he should give him his own place and stand right at the end or just shutup and stay quite instead of being a smartass. Hamare logo mai yahi problem hai.

  • Jayy Khan

    Its not our job to keep the change, Its their job to keep the change coz they run the business, We are customers, I get people at Toll Plazas handing me cheap local chocolate instead of 5Rs, so instead of spending 50Rs, I end up spending 60. Its about whats right and whats wrong. CNG guys are crooks, they need proper beating from a Pathan. LOL

  • Jayy Khan

    I dont seem to understand what you are trying to say? You think people shouldn’t use CNG or Stop asking for change they rightfully own.

  • Baber

    We have to value our money. In UAE for example, you do not leave the dispensing station until you’re completely done with payment at all. Here, no idea why people are so impatient and start honking. One shouldn’t leave until the transaction is complete.

    I value my hard earned money. I will only give it away on own free will. You can’t tell that you don’t have free change. As the phrase goes ‘Drops of water makes an ocean (yeah, can’t remember the exact)’, so why should I surrender my change? I always get my change. Though I don’t have a CNG car now but when I did, I used to get it.

  • Baber

    This doesn’t stop people from stealing or anything. There’s no research supporting this, just your theory which isn’t even based on observation. If anything, it is a fraud and deceit because they say they don’t have change or people are getting impatient. They should first hand you over the rightful change, and THEN, you can hand it back to them.

  • Guest

    In Western countries, the income parity and purchasing power parity is high. Somebody owning an icecream stall can buy his/her own Mercedes.

    Poverty is not a justification of stealing. As a nation, we love to justify the “poor man’s crimes” and that’s all.

  • Zulfiqar Ali Soomro

    flew right over my head, all the way to another continent. his comment

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