The attendants at the Indian Oil pump opposite passport office near NGV tried this magazine trick on me, but failed miserably.
I went to this petrol pump at 8:30 am today since petrol pumps are generally less crowded on Sunday mornings and chances of cheating are less. I generally prefer to use cash at petrol pumps since it doesn't involve any distractions and also saves time. But today I felt like paying by CC since the petrol pump was not crowded and I was the only customer at the fuel dispenser.
Here is how it happened. I parked the car in front of the fuel dispenser, came out and stood in front of the meter and asked the attendant to fill petrol for Rs 500. The attendant entered Rs 500 in the dispenser. So far so good.
Attendant asks - cash or card sir ? I said card. The attendant got an excuse to distract me. As he started filling petrol in the car, he called another attendant to collect my CC. Again, routine procedure, nothing to be worried about.
As the second attendant approaches me, I hand over my CC to him, momentarily taking eyes off the fuel meter. As the second attendant collects my CC, he shows me a magazine and tries to distract me. The moment I saw a magazine i his hand, I immediately realised that they are trying to con me (thanks to the post above from member arunkk).
I totally ignore the second attendant and turn my attention back to the fuel meter. Mind you, all this happened in a split second. By the time I turn back to look at the fuel meter, the first attendant had stopped filling at Rs 365 and was resetting the meter and I caught him in the act. Realising that their con act has failed, the second attendant vanished into thin air.
I shouted at the first attendant asking why he has stopped at Rs 365 even when he had entered Rs 500. He gives lame excuse - power failure sir. I told him that this cash/card and magazine distraction routines have become too old and they need to come up with something more innovative.
I ask him for the automated receipt, which mentions Rs 365. Realising that I'm a hard nut to crack, he immediately filled up petrol worth Rs 135.
But I was in no mood to take this nonsense anymore. I barged into the supervisor's cabin and demanded the complaint book. He tried to calm me down by asking - what happened sir ? I told him straightaway that the attendant tried to cheat me. If you want further details, ask the attendant himself. Hand me the complaint book now.
The supervisor called the attendant and he gave the same lame excuse of power failure. I came out of the supervisor's cabin and started dialling the station manager's number, which is prominently displayed outside the cabin. They immediately realised that I was in no mood to take it lying down.
The attendant who had tried to cheat me immediately turned apologetic and accepted his mistake. All 8-10 pump attendants gathered around me and started requesting me not to complaint to the station manager or the poor attendant would loose his job. The supervisor offered me Rs 100 worth of extra petrol and promised that this money would be deducted from the attendant's salary. Finally, I filled up another Rs 100 worth free petrol and left the place.
I don't really care about the Rs 100 worth of free petrol. In fact, I would make sure that I donate this amount to charity. I would never rob a poor person of his hard-earned money and take his curse on me.
But I wanted to ensure that the pump attendant realises his mistake and is aware of the consequences of his actions.
1. Don't assume that you won't be cheated at a petrol pump if it is not crowded
2. Never take your eyes off the meter even for a split second, no matter what happens around you
3. Use cash for payment, as it involves less distractions
4. Always demand automatic receipt after filling fuel (Avoid pumps which do not have such system of automatic receipt)
5. If you feel that you have been cheated, don't take it lying down. Take up the matter with the supervisor / manager and raise a complaint.
Even if no action is taken against your complain, you have nothing to loose. But the pump attendant can loose his job if customers complaint against him. Hence the customer always has an upper hand in case of such a dispute.