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Old 16th June 2012, 11:59   #1
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Default The great domestic LPG connection scam

So last weekend I decided to check up with the local agency for new LPG connection:

1. One said that you will have to buy the stove (worth xxx) from us, otherwise take a hike. So I took a hike after hurling some officialese (that such practice is banned by IOCL/HPCL/BPCL/etc and mentioned clearly in their websites)

2. The other said that you will have to buy something else (like LPG water geyser - is that even legal?) from our shop, if not the stove. I simply walked out knowing that the anger is rising in me ...

3. The last one said buy anything, even utensils, but the total has to be xxx rupees - only then we will proceed with your papers. By this time anger had evaporated and amusement took over ... so I just started the fun by saying that "don't you see this practice is illegal" - the response I got "sir in this country everything works this way only, this is india - can you name anything that works legally as intended?"

In fact he gave me the confidence that even if I complain against all this, the company officials work totally hand in glove and all such complaints get thrown to trash.


I worked out quickly that I have to pay some 4-5K upfront to get the connection - and then there is a per cylinder cost is the running cost.
And then once your cylinder gets over - you make the booking, and get the replacement in "some" time.

Do you know that cylinders in black are available instantly? And that the cost difference makes it a viable option for at least 20 -30 cylinders.



Funny are the ways of our country.
So should I cough up the money for the futile junk sold by the agency and get the connection?
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Old 16th June 2012, 13:02   #2
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

This problem was there when we were kids (remember full episode of Rajani dedicated to this practise and we were 7-8 years old then), is there as we are adults and will remain till we die and thereafter.
This is like another Petrol pump story. Either all (95%) gas agencies are cheats or the OMCs officials are cheats in collusion with agencies or there is some flaw in the business model that compels dealers for such practise or lastly our Indian mentality is like 'either you screw me or let me screw you, both (businessman and customer) can't live peacefully together and when in dispute let govt screw both of us'. I think its the mixture of all the points mentioned.
When I went to take a new connection in Goa, I experienced same thing and there is a big notice hanging on wall showing 'HPCL doesn't engage in such practise, blah blah' which I showed to them and I finally got the connection without the stove but only after buying a HPCL file to keep papers, a gas lighter, connection pipe, gas trolley, knife, apron, etc.
During past 10 years or so, I have taken new gas connections in BLR, JAI, BOM, GOI (3 connections) and trust me, the experience is EXACTLY the same with all the dealers. So I came to conclusion that there is some serious flaw with the system.
And mind you, the stove and other items are sold by some family member/relative of the agency owner on a separate bill.
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Old 16th June 2012, 15:22   #3
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

I remember the NDA days when there were billboards asking people to take a connection for X rupees. Why -LPG prices were the same for all - none of this dual pricing nonsense. I am sure if they were to price cylinders the same then all this diversion of domestic LPG to commercial and vehicle use will stop and the connections will again be off the shelf.
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Old 16th June 2012, 15:56   #4
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

Quote:
Originally Posted by sgiitk View Post
I remember the NDA days when there were billboards asking people to take a connection for X rupees. Why -LPG prices were the same for all - none of this dual pricing nonsense. I am sure if they were to price cylinders the same then all this diversion of domestic LPG to commercial and vehicle use will stop and the connections will again be off the shelf.
I don't think these practices are a result of increasing commercial use of the LPG cylinders. These practices were followed long before LPG was adopted as an automobile fuel. So it's not the diversion of domestic LPG to commercials applications which is the culprit here.
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Old 16th June 2012, 15:59   #5
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

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Originally Posted by honeybee View Post
I don't think these practices are a result of increasing commercial use of the LPG cylinders. These practices were followed long before LPG was adopted as an automobile fuel. So it's not the diversion of domestic LPG to commercials applications which is the culprit here.
There are other commercial uses for LPG other than that of automobile fuel. Most visibly, LPG for cooking in restaurants.
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Old 16th June 2012, 17:15   #6
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
There are other commercial uses for LPG other than that of automobile fuel. Most visibly, LPG for cooking in restaurants.
LPG generators have become common too, because of the increasing power shortage in the city. In Hyderabad, there's generally a 2-hour power cut every day - 1 hour in the morning, 1 hour in the evening.
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Old 16th June 2012, 17:47   #7
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

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Originally Posted by carboy View Post
There are other commercial uses for LPG other than that of automobile fuel. Most visibly, LPG for cooking in restaurants.
You are right, however dealers insisting that customers looking for new connections buy the stove (or as in case of the OP something else worth x) has been around for years. There have been numerous reports of people taking such dealers to the consumer court and getting a favourable ruling.

As for black marketing while the commercial use has no doubt increased with autos and generators and whatnot, I believe this is still a minor issue as there are no widespread shortages of domestic LPG.
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Old 16th June 2012, 18:57   #8
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

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Originally Posted by alpha1 View Post
In fact he gave me the confidence that even if I complain against all this, the
company officials work totally hand in glove and all such complaints get thrown
to trash.
I few years back, I had faced hassles at the hands of a delaer as I had to shift
my connection to a nearby outlet as I shifted my residence. Do not recollect
the details, though it was something like I should surrender my existing
connection with existing dealer and take a new one from the new guy.

I took up the matter with Bharat Petroleum authorities. The things moved quite
fast. The dealer was reprimanded and I wasn't required to do any of those
things that he told are necessary.

Yes, it does depend somewhat on the person in charge of the company, but at
least my experience in one such instance of talking with the company directly
was very good.
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Old 16th June 2012, 19:44   #9
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

Seems we should have a dedicated section for "Scams around me"

After all there so many.. few to quote here

The great domestic LPG connection scam
Petrol pump story
New Car - Handelling charges
..
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Old 16th June 2012, 20:10   #10
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

I had a slightly different experience few years back with Indane, went to the dealer to check for availability, he said its available.

Deposited all the papers and money and then the wait started, after 2-3 visits the person there was adamant that we will release only after verifying that the Gas Stove you have is ISI marked or not(thats the procedure), I said fine, please send someone to verify, didnt happen.

A week after I went and told them that I am going to the regional office with a formal complaint and the next day the cylinder was at my house.

I agree, our perceptions have not changed over years but the Oil companies have, they take all complaints very seriously and will resolve them, do approach them for any grievances, you will be surprised.
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Old 16th June 2012, 21:30   #11
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

I am not sure why people assume everybody is corrupt, don't even try and then blame the system.

I was given the same bull story about buying a stove. I called up the BP helpline number and complained from the dealer's place. Nothing moved. So I came back home. Next day, I visited the BP regional office, and talked to the incharge there. He immediately took action and I was given the gas, without a single extra rupee. If only people could do it more often, we will have less of such irritants in our life.

There are many honest people in the system, who are ready to help you. But these people don't stick their neck out a lot, just in case it gets cut. Please approach higher authorities for help. Also remember the adage I follow "Clerk is a Jerk". Reach out to supervisors and things will move.
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Old 16th June 2012, 22:54   #12
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

Don't pay them.
I hate dependency on these LPG distributors. I myself paid 5K for first connection and 3K to make it double. In the process got slapped with a gas stove and a pressure cooker which i didn't want. My experience says its not worth it.
I assume since you are trying for an LPG connection so you are still setting up or started to set up your kitchen.
If I have to do it again I will go for these alternatives.

1. Switch to induction cook top with stainless steel cookware. I have one. It can do everything LPG gas stove can do, infact it does it better. Except maybe for the part of cooking which require direct flame(phulka, smoking).
2. If required take a pvt connection. Yes it is expensive but it is only for occasional backup use. I don't want the subsidy, I can pay for the LPG but I don't want to get conned by PSU dealers. More over with the extra money you pay to PSU dealers it takes a while before you can actually start reaping benefits of the subsidized LPG from these PSU dealers.
3. If living in a rented accommodation, move to a society with piped gas connection.
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Old 16th June 2012, 22:58   #13
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

Did you try to log in a complaint at any of the company website? When I took the connection in 2006, I faced the same issue. So I had logged in a complaint at HP gas website and next day I received a call from Area Sales Manager and dealer to come and take the connection without stove. Even today if I log in a complaint due to delay in delivery of cylinder, the cylinder is at my door the next day. I normally log in complaints on Fridays .
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Old 16th June 2012, 23:14   #14
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

Sometimes all these seem like a necessary evil.

This is not only limited to gas connections, these practices are common & rampant across. There is no mandate to have a fixed deposit in a bank to secure a safe deposit locker, yet banks have 'mandated' them.

Today, had been to SBI to open a new A/c for my sis, after filling out the application form we were directed to a counter to make the cash payment. There that guy handed over another form asking us to fill - it was a Accident Insurance form for SBI General Insurance. We didn't even want it, all the "logical" answer we got from him was "pay Rs.100 per year and you get covered for Rs.4lacs!!" After repeatedly asking him is it mandatory, his answer changed from "Yes" initially to a sheepish "this is the practice in all banks."

I had faced a similar situation when i had applied for gas connection. However, I had to cough up extra money without any goodies in return. Let me just say i paid up 5k for connection with 2 cylinders and I received a bill for only around 3k.

The only advantage with the gas connection from PSUs (and opening bank accounts) is, it also serves as a valid address proof document! It is very useful if you are new to a city.

Last edited by MA5K : 16th June 2012 at 23:30.
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Old 17th June 2012, 11:00   #15
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Default Re: The great domestic LPG connection scam

At least you got a connection. I shifted residence and at the new place I was told new connections are closed. Then when new connections opened 4-5 mths later I was not eligible because my voter card had my previous address on it. Later once I got letters and all from the panchayat of the place where I now reside I was able to get a connection. And the same deal, I will have to buy a stove. Plus, I was only going to get 1 cylinder. The gas owner told me to apply again after 6 months for a 2nd cylinder. After six months, i went to do exactly that and the guy told me 2nd cylinders were not being given out. If i wanted another cylinder then he told me to get another new connection done in another family members name, as in buy another stove, and get another cylinder lol. Luckily my uncle was in need of a new stove so I reluctantly agreed to a second connection and sold the stove to my uncle.

i live in the outskirts of a tier III city so only 1 dealer in our area. This is total blackmail. But we have no choice.

Last edited by amrisharm : 17th June 2012 at 11:02.
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