Protecting yourself from petrol pump frauds

This scam (almost) happened with us (me and my brother), a while back and our experience is being shared so that more people do not fall prey to these thieves. This is a common tactic being used at petrol pumps by the filling staff to rip-off the hard earned money from us. I read about similar scams in the fraud section of Pakwheels and fortunately, it was the only reason why I was saved, even though I never expected one day I would have to face the same thing.

It was about 11 pm, me and my brother were out to fuel up our car. It was a government vehicle (which makes me realize now the confidence of the thieves when dealing with normal vehicles, DAMN!). We set a target of 2500 Rs worth of Petrol, I was driving. The petrol pump was empty except for two filling boys. I told them “2500 ka petrol daal do (2500 Rs worth petrol please)” and he nodded in affirmative.

Before the fueling process could start, I set my sight on the meter and did not let my eyes wander elsewhere. When the meter went to 500 Rs he stopped. The person said “Hogya (Done)”, I said I asked for 2500 man! And immediately I realized I will be victim of the same technique of scam that the petrol pump filling boys do. I tried not to look away from the meter but a loud knock on my screen forced me to turn my head. It was the other staff person (accomplice). Ignoring whatever he had to say, I once again turned back to the meter which had crossed about 800 Rs or so in a few seconds.

I came out of the vehicle and as I expected, the meter stopped at 2000.

Pausing my story here, let me tell the readers about the fraud here. For example you say 1500 Rs petrol. They will stop at let’s suppose 500 or any other value and ask for money. When u remind them the original value, another person will distract you by any means, like washing windscreen, asking for general information, etc. the meter will carry on from 500 like it did from the start, but afterwards, it will stop at 1000 Rs. And they will pretend and say “pehle 500 daal dia tha (we put 500 Rs worth petrol before), so in actual you will get 1000 Rs petrol only, and 500 Rs will be their profit. This is the fraud that gets many people. It is usually when a single driver comes to them but in my case, they did not spare two people as well, as tomorrow was EID and they wanted their Eidi desperately. Well NOT ME! coming back to my experience.

They said 2500 (as I expected), I said meter says 2000. They said that 500 was before and meter got reset. Luckily my brother was also watching the meter. I said I have been watching the meter all along. And I will only pay what I see on the meter! Not one Rs more. Things got heated up and I started threatening them with lodging a complaint, etc and on hearing this they backed down and took 2000 Rs.

Here I would urge the people to please; before filling up your vehicles, do check the meter if it is at 0 or not. And keep your eyesight on the meter at all times. It is preferable that you come out of your vehicle and stand directly in front of the meter and avoid distractions as much as possible. Even if someone tries to talk to you, your focus should be on the meter and afterwards, you can look at the distraction. By doing this we can save ourselves from the fraud that is becoming a common phenomenon at petrol pumps. Lodging a complain to the manager or at the company’s website is another way to stop these scumbags in the future.

Mujtaba Abbas

In a parallel world, Mujtaba a.k.a MJ is an avid Environmentalist and a Public Servant. In this realm he is a die hard automotive enthusiast who seeks to create awareness in the minds of the readers and sincerely believes "Tabdeeli aanay hi waali hai :P