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Old 25th April 2013, 15:37   #1
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Default My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Dear All,
There has been a recent event that I personally experienced, which has led me to believe that not all is lost in our country.

In March, I was the victim of a petrol pump fraud - One that is all too common across this city these days. I usually fill my tank up over the weekends, when there is less rush at the petrol pumps, and just after I finish my weekly grocery shopping. I drove to the Indian Oil Petrol pump in Hinjewadi, Pune (the first one when we enter HJW). Drove in, gave the attendant my card, asked him to swipe for Rs 1400 while another attendant was filling up. I am very aware of these frauds happening so I am alert. After the meter crossed 1000, one of the attendants started acting funny. Told me my card does not work. So I promptly pulled out my wallet, and gave the attendant another card, all the while keeping one eye on the meter. After the meter crossed 1200, the attendant came squarely in front of my face and tried to block my view. The next thing I realize is the meter is back to 0. I immediately knew something is wrong, and walked up to the attendant to have a few choice words with him.

Suddenly I received two debit instruction messages on my mobile - both my cards were debited of Rs 1400. I fought with the attendant for :

1. Swiping two of my cards
2. Not showing me the final amount on the meter.

The attendant fought with me for a while, but I insisted that he show me the record of my transaction at the pump (Pumps have a record of all transactions of how much fuel is filled, time etc). I did not move my car from the pump, and I was pretty firm on my demand. Initially, he refused flat out to show the record, but when he finally did, his lie was caught : Rs 1231 of diesel was filled. Sheepishly, the attendant proceeded to give me back Rs 170 in cash, and he promised me that the extra
debit transaction will be returned back to my account. I called up my bank's customer care for confirmation. I then walked into the petrol pump office, and asked the manager for the complaint book. Thats when all the drama started. All the employees of the pump were pleading with me not to use the complaint book - But by now I was in absolutely no mood to relent. I tried the Indian Oil Customer care number, and unsurpisingly, they did not register my complaint (because they did not find the pump on their list !). However I pretended to the pump manager that the complaint has been registered and continued asking for the complaint book. After almost 2 hours of them pleading with me unsuccessfully, (which included them offering to pay the whole money back,which I flatly refused, to showing me the CCTV footage of the crime 'in my support') they finally gave me access to the complaint book.

I wasnt sure if these crooks have a way of manipulating their complaint book, so just to make sure, I went online to pgportal.gov.in and registered my grievance there (heard about this website through a few email forwards, its the GOI public grievance system). Wrote in detail about my harrowing experience, shut off my pc and went about my normal life again.

2 months later, since I lodged a complaint. suddenly I get a call one evening in April from an IOC employee. He speaks to me at length about my problem, and tells me that the attendant has been fired. Next, he asks me for suggestions on how to improve their systems. I was wondering why the man even called me in the first place. And asking for my suggestions ? Why ? Is he even going to listen to them ? So, I have this nice long conversation with him about the malpractices in the pumps of this area (which I'm sure he's already aware of) before we close the call.

The same evening, the same guy calls back. This is the conversation :

IOC guy : " Sir, I am XXX, I called you in the morning regarding your complaint"
Me : "Yes, go on"
IOC Guy : "Sir, now that the issue has been resolved, could you please write a mail to the ministry of petroleum that you're satisfied with the resolution ? "

Yep, you read that right. Someone honest at the top of the food chain was taking care of this complaint. On checking the status of my grievance on the website, I see that my complaint has been forwarded to one of the Executive Directors of Indian Oil, probably on instruction from the MOP ! How empowering is it for a common man to know that their grievances are atleast being heard ? That a fraud of a paltry sum of Rs 170 is being taken up seriously by someone really high up in the corridors of power ?

And no, I am not satisfied. I raised my objections with the IOC employee, and I will also relay them to whoever needs to hear it at the upper levels :

1. If the transaction was made via a debit card, which involves direct transfer of money to the Pump owners account, how is ONLY the pump attendant responsible for the crime ? How does the pump attendant get his hands on money tat has directly transferred to the account ?

2. Why did the petrol pump refuse to give me the complaint book for 2 hours, and how do you ensure that this does not repeat ?

3. Why is the petrol pump not listed on your website or customer care ?


If there's one lesson to take from this, its this : Dont be afraid to fight your fight, and never take things lying down. If someone has the audacity to rob you of your precious fuel money, the money that is used by you to do what you love most, DRIVE your car damnit, make sure you give someone hell for it ! Sometimes our little fights will not go in vain.

Drive safe.
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Old 25th April 2013, 19:42   #2
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Superb! I am so happy that you took the time and effort to ensure that not only was the money due you was returned but you also complained against the errant petrol pump and followed it up as well. The happy ending is quite well-deserved.

Cross-linking to 2 useful threads:
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...-stations.html (Short Fueling Tricks At Petrol Stations)
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/shifti...me-you-do.html (Heard of pgportal.gov.in? About time you do)
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Old 25th April 2013, 20:42   #3
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

This is just brilliant. Nice to see that there is some honest people who take the complaints seriously.

I had also done a similar thing in 2011 and got a call from BP about the action taken. But there was no request to send a mail to Ministry of Petroleum.
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Old 25th April 2013, 21:07   #4
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuntoMania View Post
I wasnt sure if these crooks have a way of manipulating their complaint book, so just to make sure, I went online to pgportal.gov.in and registered my grievance there (heard about this website through a few email forwards, its the GOI public grievance system). Wrote in detail about my harrowing experience, shut off my pc and went about my normal life again.
Happy that you stood up for your rights and taught the crooks a lesson they won't forget.

PGPortal is empowering laymen like you & me.

Here is my Thread (Heard of pgportal.gov.in? About time you do) on the effectiveness of this super Govt initiative.
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Old 25th April 2013, 21:49   #5
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Applause to @PuntoMania. May yours and the someone-honest-at-the-top-of-the-food-chain's tribe increase.

But, couple of things I have to admit about the incident is that @PuntoMania had the advantage of affecting the pump's business by not moving the car from the front of the pump. The second thing was the culprit was a petty petrol pump attendant whose job could be easily terminated; what would the govt. have done if the scam happened with a higher authority? Nothing much, I have to guess.

I just pointed it out to say that not everyone gets this advantage; and not to belittle PuntoMania's or the GOI's efforts.
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Old 25th April 2013, 22:22   #6
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Awesome stuff! Perhaps there is some hope after all.

I make it a point to get out of the car and and wait while the car is refueled.
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Old 25th April 2013, 22:38   #7
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

I had faced similar issues while filling CNG at same petrol pump. Staff their is highly inefficient and takes their own sweet time. Complaint to manager was hardly any use as he said he can allot only one guy for CNG while rest of guys were sitting idle !!

Hope they have learn t their lesson now.

Last edited by idea : 25th April 2013 at 22:41.
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Old 25th April 2013, 23:21   #8
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Thumbs up May your tribe increase!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuntoMania View Post
Sometimes our little fights will not go in vain.

Drive safe.
Thanks for restoring my faith in the institutions that be. It is very easy to move on for all of us (I would not have hung around 2 hours) - but it is rooting out this grass roots corruption that is the toughest, because it flies under the radar of much-celebrated corruption fighters.

To fight the right fight, that no one else will care about - to change things at the grassroots is the real cleanup our country needs.

My personal salute to you and to that gent at the top of the food chain - may your tribe increase.
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Old 25th April 2013, 23:59   #9
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuntoMania View Post
If there's one lesson to take from this, its this : Dont be afraid to fight your fight, and never take things lying down. If someone has the audacity to rob you of your precious fuel money, the money that is used by you to do what you love most, DRIVE your car damnit, make sure you give someone hell for it ! Sometimes our little fights will not go in vain.

Drive safe.
Great job there! *Salutes*

Even I have twice tested the petrol bunk from where I get my vehicles fueled.

I have checked the quantity they provide through the "5 litre measuring can" method and also checked if they are not providing normal fuel in the name of "High Octane' fuel (the colors are noticeably different).

After the test they ask you to write in their "Q&Q" register that you are satisfied with the fuel,your name,number etc.(This is about the HP pump which I switched over to from Indian Oil because of the following incidence)

The conversation with the petrol pump guy at Indian Oil(it is bang opposite my place and the HP one 3 minutes away):
They are reluctant at first and say "Arey Sahab, saalo se toh bhara rahe ho yahi se. saamne hi toh rehte ho, Kya dekhne ka usme"
so much so that he went on to say to his colleague "Chal yaar daal de sahab mazaak kar rahe hain. tu daal"
But i stood firm and told him that I wasn't joking and I wanted to test them; so he reluctantly agreed but the following conversation was quite boorish from his side so I decided it was time to change the pump and switched over to HP.

-Bhargav

Last edited by Octane_Power : 26th April 2013 at 00:01.
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Old 26th April 2013, 12:13   #10
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

I would like to narrate 1 incident which happened with me last month here in Mumbai off Marve rd:

The pump attendant forgot to put the fuel lid back on & it was kept on top of the car. After paying the bill i left off. I'm usually seated on the co-passenger seat & keep a watch through the ORVM to see if the fuel cap is closed or not when at a pump & my driver also keeps a watch my getting off the car. But that particular day my driver was on leave , so i was driving.

I couldn't see the fuel cap in the mirror so i left thinking the attendant must have closed it after paying the bill. My dad was seated next to me & he signalled to me 'lets go' after paying the bill.

After reaching my house which is about 5mins away from the pump , i saw the fuel cap was open & there was no lid.
Went back immediately, i couldn't remember who was the attendant who filled up & there too nobody seemed interested in attending to me.

What had happened was while taking a turn to get out of the pump the lid which was kept on top of the car fell off and a scrap fellow/ bhangarwala picked it up & went. This was told to me by a guard next to the pump.
So after spending 2 hrs at the pump & the attendants searching for it around the pump , i lodged a complaint in the complaint book.

They promised me that they would get a new fuel lid for me.
So next day went there by 3pm & they made me wait for 1 hr saying that attendant had brought a new lid & kept it somewhere & he wasn't picking up the phone. Eventually, they got me a new lid & I withdrew the complaint as they had provided me with a new lid!

Co-incidentally at the same pump, long time ago i had filled up a tankful of diesel & my car started giving out black smoke & eventually the EGR light came on!
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Old 26th April 2013, 12:21   #11
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

*SALUTE*

I know a few pumps in my area who resort to similar practices - looks like I have a task to do.

On similar count I raised a big stink about the IOC's local LPG agent/dealer. I had absolutely NO response from IOC. (Or perhaps something did happen behind the scenes, because the LPG dealer did ultimately cower down like a frightened puppy).

The learning is that never hesitate to take up the cudgels against these lazy robber, even though it may look like a fruitless exercise..

Last edited by alpha1 : 26th April 2013 at 12:23.
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Old 26th April 2013, 17:30   #12
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

I have always wondered. Who benefits from this fraud that petrol pump attendants pull off on unsuspecting customers ? The owner of the pump, obviously. But do the attendants get a cut too ? How do they remember how many people they ripped off and by how much petrol/diesel ?
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Old 26th April 2013, 17:46   #13
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Yes, I have tried pgportal (after reading GTO's thread)for my credit card issues (I was being billed without getting a statement for more than 18 months and I never used the card too in that period)and it was followed up very well until it was resolved. HSBC simply waived all my dues to satisfy me after which I got that confirmation call from RBI to ensure my complaint was resolved amicably to my satisfaction. Fantastic response.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuntoMania View Post
1. If the transaction was made via a debit card, which involves direct transfer of money to the Pump owners account, how is ONLY the pump attendant responsible for the crime ? How does the pump attendant get his hands on money tat has directly transferred to the account ?
End of the day, money has to be accounted for fuel dispensed. So whatever short fuel he has dispensed to you, he can show that as the 200 rs fuel he dispensed for cash(to someone else) and take that cash home.
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:44   #14
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Quote:
Originally Posted by PuntoMania View Post
Dear All,

In March, I was the victim of a petrol pump fraud - One that is all too common across this city these days. After the meter crossed 1000, one of the attendants started acting funny. After the meter crossed 1200, the attendant came squarely in front of my face and tried to block my view. The next thing I realize is the meter is back to 0. I immediately knew something is wrong, and walked up to the attendant to have a few choice words with him.
So it happens in Pune too! I've been facing this problem in some pumps in bangalore (HP at Brigade road,IOC near Sagar Hospital,BG road,IOC at Banaswadi for e.g.). Every time I have to gearup for a fight.Pretty stressful when you roll into a unknown petrol pump now!

Another fraud I experienced in Bangalore is when you tell them to fill your tank. They fill in for Rs 200 and make an action of removing the nozzle.When you remind them that its a full tank that you wanted, another guy distracts you and the tank is filled. Now say it reads 1000 on the meter.They say " 1200 sir, 200 before and 1000 now". Since you were distracted, you forget that he had not reset the meter!. So like a chump you're cheated of 200.

Happened to me only once.Since then every time they try this, I scold them, and question their hearing.Or to avoid situation like PuntoMania faced, I keep staring at the meter, even if the second attendant is nagging me in my face, asking "card or cash, card or cash". And then I never go to that pump again.

Good going PuntoMania!
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Old 26th April 2013, 18:59   #15
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Default Re: My experience with Petrol Pump Fraud - And the silver lining

Well done Puntomania! You stood your ground and came out a winner! It's noteworthy that the complaint book does put the fear of God into these cheats.
It pays to select and stick to any one honest petrol bunk in your area . This will make life easier for you as you will be familiar with most of the pump's employees. The bunk where I fuel up always begins by bringing my attention to the meter as it is being zeroed and again when the fuelling has been completed.
regards,
Ashok
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