Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Petrol bunk fraud and caught Red-handed!

In less than a month since I came up with the petrol bunk fraud post [Link], I was duped again. Well, I got duped, and by virtue of – let me say – my fraud-identification skills, I came out (almost) unscathed.

This time around, it was the Hindustan Petroleum petrol bunk right next to Guindy flyover in Anna Salai, Chennai. Their objective was the same (which was to fraud), but the modus operandi was different.

As I entered and parked near the dispensing machine, which was to my left, the guy near the machine asked me to check the ‘zero’ reading. A lady to the left then collected Rs. 1000 from me. Simultaneously, another guy appeared near the right car window and asked for my credit card. I retorted that I had already paid cash; he apologized and gave a little longish explanation; and I shifted my gaze back to check the reading. The reading showed ‘300’, and the dispensing guy was done with the loading. I told him I had paid ‘1000’, and asked him to start from zero and go till 700 for the second round. He complied and I watched the dispenser reading slowly move from zero to 700.

I received the bill receipt and started my drive. The fuel indicator slowly inched up and then refused to go beyond the 75% mark. I did a quick retrospection and figured that I had noticed the ‘zero’ and the ‘300’ readings but not the progress from zero to ‘300’. I figured they must’ve cheated me in this stretch. I dialed the bunk operator even as I was driving and threatened to call the police; I reached the bunk in 15 minutes, quite determined to go to any level possible. It’s not the monetary value of the fraud that irritates you. The sheer feeling that you got duped sucks. I just had to fix the fraud to get my mood back on track. As soon as I stopped at the bunk, even before I started talking or demanding an explanation, the lady and the guy came down and explained that they checked with the operator who originally loaded the fuel (who was now, obviously, ‘out of shift’) and that there was an error and they would load Rs. 300 worth of petrol. I asked for Rs. 50 worth of extra petrol since they made me ride 6 kms and wasted my time, and, surprise of surprises, they complied!

It didn’t take me long to figure out the way they work. They routinely cheat customers, and if any customer finds out, they give up without a winker. If people don’t figure out the fraud, the amount is split across the operators. And this is in a petrol bunk on the most important road in Chennai (Anna Salai) near the most important junction (Kathipara). What was most shocking was that all the fraudsters wore Ayyappa garlands (which mean they were on penance) and there was a lady involved.

The larger question is: how do you get out of this very common menace? Looks like petrol bunk frauds are very common. A search on Google yields me other common petrol bunk frauds. After a bunch of research, here’s what I figured out:
  • Avoid PSU bunks and go to private operators who have stringent quality standards. Shell or Reliance fuel supposedly gives 10% to 15% better mileage
  • If (1) is not possible, go to Company-owner petrol bunks of PSUs – BP, IOC, HP etc
  • Ask for the bill, even if it’s a bunk that you routinely visit since it’s the only proof in case your fuel indicator doesn’t behave the way it is supposed to
  • Get down the vehicle and stand near the dispensing machine. It shows that you mean business.


At Sunday, December 30, 2007 11:06:00 PM, Blogger Jammy said...

I don't know how they did it, but I always had a feeling that my vehicle gave bad mileage when I filled petrol from the HPCL bunk near to the Guindy flyover. The simplest solution for me was to avoid it. Now I know better!

At Monday, December 31, 2007 11:13:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Amazing coincidence. Wherever I'm duped, there's somebody I know who's already went through the same! Interesting - shows the magnitude of the fraud!

At Saturday, February 16, 2008 12:30:00 AM, Blogger harry said...

hey govar,

hi daa..long time i guess.. even i was duped like these twice. then i stopped going to the bunk. They used to do it for bikes itself. i remember paying 500 bucks and ghetting just 100 rupees of gas. the same modus operandi which you have described happens. one golden rule i learnt...when the gas is filling concentrate just on the meter..period !!

At Sunday, April 26, 2009 10:30:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i have threatened to physically assult the operator and it works.. :) its actually fun nowdays when i do it and go away without paying :) free petrol so what if it wasnt for 500 bucks :)

At Monday, November 30, 2009 11:43:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to tell all people about "FRAUD IN HYDERABAD PETROL BUNKS in HYDERABAD".
I have a bajaj pulsar 150dts i.
It was in reserve AND i went to a petrol Bunk near hafeezpet.(on 29 th november,2009).
I am very much sure that it has got 1 litre in reserve the reserve tank.
We asked for a full tank......AND TO MY SURPRISE HE POURED 18 LITRES .
DEAR INDIA PLEASE AWAKE,When pulsar has a full tank capacity of 13.8 litres including reserve
how can one pour 18 litres in to it.
That means for every one litre he is pouring only 285 ml.
Please forward this message to all friends of yours....

At Tuesday, September 14, 2010 4:00:00 PM, Blogger sailesh said...

Few things to keep in mind.
1. Try avoiding filling of petrol during 12 noon to 9pm. Since petrol is stored in sumps, it gets heated a bit and expands (Liquids expand at relatively high temperature)
2. Tell the guy to set the initial meter reading to zero.
3. Tell the amount clearly to the guy who fills the petrol (and not to the guy who stand besides him [To avoid any miscommunication]) and tell him to repeat it once.
4. Tell him to pour petrol in medium mode. Pouring it fast makes it to vaporize and some of the petrol will flow back to the sump through the holes provided at the sides of the petrol pouring pipe(Though the meter reading will not be affected due to this loss of yours).
5. Don’t get distracted while the petrol is being filled up.

At Tuesday, January 18, 2011 10:51:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pallikarani Petrol Bunk is another fraudster with the same thing. Liars will act as if keeping hand on the money counter and resetting they dont they are just frauds.
Bharat Petrol Bunk in pallikarani is a Fraud. I tried avoid this cheat's, liars, frauds but because of the proxmity have to go their. Irritating experience but nothing can be done because of the corrupt nature of these bunks.

At Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:03:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Think this is the first HP bunk on the way to Kathibera Jun (there are two close to each other) ...same thing happened to me ..lady at the machine ..guys asks to check 0 and then askes me if i switched off my car ..moment i looked up meter showed 200 in less then a few seconds ..blasted them ... took my money back and walked off ..sent a mail to HP but no replies till date. Best spread the word and avoid this bunk!!!!


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