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How To Detect Fraud at Petrol Pumps

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  • Roshun
    started a topic How To Detect Fraud at Petrol Pumps

    How To Detect Fraud at Petrol Pumps

    This is a common enough problem most car and bike owners face in India. There are a number of petrol pumps that will try and con you by short-fuelling or shortchanging you when you go to fill your car or bike up, unless you stay alert. I am just collating a list of scams that petrol pumps pull on unsuspecting car and bike owners here.
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    Common tricks to fool a customer

    1. The long, long hose trick: This is not really a trick on the part of the fuel pump, but it's a fault in the design of fuel dispensers itself. Many fuel dispensers have hoses that are longer than needed, and when fuel has been filled in your car or bike, there is still some fuel in the hose, that has already been metered that stays in the hose. It could be as much as 100-150 ml of fuel. Make sure every last drop is dispensed, raising the hose before taking the nozzle out if needed.

    2. The sleight of hand, shortchanging trick: This is something that a lot of bikers face, especially those who fill fuel for small amounts and pay in cash. When handing back change for a Rs. 1000 or Rs. 500 note, the attendant will appear to count the correct amount of change, but will sometimes hold back Rs. 100 or Rs. 50. Since most bikers are usually in a hurry to take the change and dash off, they sometimes get short changed.

    3. The diversionary trick: This happens to car and bike owners. Even if you check the meter on the fuel dispenser and the attendant begins filling fuel, a second attendant or salesperson will walk up to you and divert your attention, on the pretext of selling you some credit card, rewards card or scratch removing polish. All this while, the other attendant has his hand on the nozzle. If you appear to be distracted, they will quickly finish filling the car before it reaches the amount you asked for and reset the machine. So, if you've asked for 20 litres or perhaps Rs. 1000 worth of fuel, they would have filled for about Rs. 950 or a litre less and hung up before you can pay attention again. Of course, if you insist on a bill from the machine (most dispensers now have an electronic bill generated from them), you can detect such fraud. This mainly happens on the older type of dispensers that don't have an integrated bill-generating facility.

    4. The double start trick: If you ask for fuel worth Rs. 1000, unscrupulous attendants will pretend they haven't heard you correctly and quickly stop the machine when it hits Rs. 300. If you point out that you asked for Rs. 1000 worth of fuel he will pretend to reset the machine, while your attention is diverted, and fill until it reaches Rs. 700. You think you've got Rs. 300 plus Rs. 700 worth of fuel, but really, you've lost Rs. 300 worth of fuel in this trick. It takes two people though, and is a variant of the diversionary trick.

    5. The jerky stop-start trick: Attendants don't fully lock the nozzle of the dispenser handle when dispensing fuel. Instead, they will keep juggling it as they fill. Each time they press and release it, some fuel is held back due to an air lock, but the fuel is already metered. This could be as high as 150-200 ml for every 10 litres of fuel dispensed.

    6. The continuity trick: Again something that happens a lot with bikers, who fill small quantities of fuel. A previous biker may have filled fuel for just Rs. 100 and moved on. The attendant then comes to you and pretends to reset the machine, if say you have asked for Rs. 500 worth of fuel. In reality, he continues to fill fuel from the Rs. 100 point without resetting the machine, thereby shortchanging you of Rs. 100 worth of fuel. This is again a diversionary tactic, and something they won't pull if you stay alert and check the meter before refuelling.

    7. Dispenser tampering: Fuel pump dispensers are becoming increasingly difficult to tamper with now fortunately, and that's a good thing. Yet, there are ways in which these dispensers can be tampered with to make their meters run faster than the actual amount of fuel dispensed. Recently, there was a news report of a few fuel stations in Punjab that were found to have electronic devices that made the meters jump a few digits while refuelling, thereby putting in less than what is shown on the display.

    How can you prevent being scammed?

    > Always insist on a printed bill from the dispenser
    > Fill fuel only at reputed pumps that have the latest model dispensers
    > Always get down from your vehicle and check the meter before refuelling starts
    > Stay with the vehicle and keep an eye on the meter all through the refuelling process, don't get distracted
    > If you are filling for a preset amount or value, get the attendant to enter that on the dispenser, put in the nozzle, press the handle to the lock position and move away from the nozzle. It will automatically stop when the correct amount of fuel has been filled.
    > If you are still in doubt, you can ask for a quantity check. They will fill 250 ml or 500 ml worth of fuel in a graduated beaker and check against the meter if it's the exact amount dispensed.
    > Try not to use cash and instead use a debit or credit card for fuel

    Please share other scams you have come across at petrol pumps in this thread, as it will serve as an eye opener to other car and bike owners.

  • Rupam_Bora
    replied
    • Beware of free Tyre pressure pumps in petrol pumps specially in Delhi ncr more specifically in Gurgaon. They point to some non existent problem with Tyre and try to jolt you to repair Tyres.common scam is to losses the valve with trick and tell u that there is problem with the inlet commonly known as "nulki". Donot allow them to touch ur Tyrese with anything other than the nozzle

    Leave a comment:


  • Rupam_Bora
    replied
    JijoMalayil
    Reliance opened the pumps after upa Govt assumed them that fuel will b completely deregulated but did not do so due to political compulsions, so Mukesh closed the pumps.

    Leave a comment:


  • kaiserketkar
    replied
    KPR Ha ha! Kyun becharon ko pareshan karte ho! I can imagine the stares you must have got when you asked for 2 liters of petrol! While on that thought, I think they should change the display of rates at petrol pumps- From Rs/ liter to liters/ 100 Rs.

    Leave a comment:


  • KPR
    replied
    kaiserketkar Just wanted know that if they fill in round litres. I normally fill tank in my bike or car. But I was even curious to know whether they fill in litres ! The thought of it even was scary to receive tantrums from petrol pump staff.!

    Leave a comment:


  • kaiserketkar
    replied
    KPR I'm curious. Why 2 liters exactly? Yes, change is always a problem and especially now, with the demonetization. If you DO want to fill up exactly 2 liters, then like Praveen said, pay by credit/debit card. Win-win for both you and the petrol pump.

    Leave a comment:


  • Praveen
    replied
    KPR I find paying by card easier because I don't have to worry about change. Also, I can fill the tank to the brim without worrying about round numbers. But one has to make sure if the fuel station is trustworthy enough to use cards. I have heard people steal data off the cards when they swipe it in the machine and then duplicate them.

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  • KPR
    replied
    I wanted to fill my bike with 2 litres of petrol! I faced all rebukes and the only answer is no change. Not that I don't check in petrol quantity or quality or filling, it the attitude of filling station attendants have changed. i also forget to tender exact change for litres I ask. Given demonitisation situations now only round denominations work.

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  • shuklakartik
    replied
    Many times I have also faced lights-out problem and they start from 100 but he feeds 400 out of 500 in the panel.

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  • gautam _67
    replied
    Another thing one may try is the filling time. Fuel is sold by volume, not weight. It gets heated up in the afternoon and hence one gets lower density fuel. However, mornings are cooler and one can get slightly more fuel.

    Leave a comment:


  • kaiserketkar
    replied
    Originally posted by gautam _67 View Post
    I have also felt that they do not start from 0, especially if a small amount was filled earlier. I have now changed my practice. I come out of the car and then tell them the quantity. I prefer auto cut-off position so that the attendant will just lock and wait till it automatically cuts off. Also, suggest avoiding filling after the auto cutoff.

    It's always the best practice to get out of the car when they are refuelling. It's also perfectly fair to dismiss any other people who may seek your attention while the refuelling is going on. If you're paying by credit card, not to hand over the card to the attendant but make him bring the machine to you or go to the machine yourself and hand it over to him only at the time of inserting it in the machine.

    Auto cutoffs:
    I beg to differ on the matter of auto cut-offs.
    The auto cut-off system is designed only to ensure that the fuel doesn't overflow by mistake. It doesn't have any connection with the amount of fuel in the tank. The way it works is that there is another pipe called the Venturi, parallel to the fuel nozzle that is air-filled. The moment fuel seeps into the venturi, it chokes off the air pressure that holds the nozzle valve open and shuts it down. This can happen even when fuel is gushing out of the nozzle into the tank faster than it can be taken in, and when air gets trapped causing the fuel to back up. Hence, this method is not a very predictable method to judge a tank-full.
    Try this the next few times you're tanking up: At the auto stop, note the amount of fuel dispensed after the auto cut-off till you start to see the fuel at the neck of the fuel inlet. It'll be different every time. I have experienced that the extra fuel can vary up to 5-7 liters varying from pump to pump, nozzle to nozzle and time to time.

    If you want to be on the safe side, it doesn't matter if the a couple of liters of fuel were less- in that case use the auto cut-off method. If however, you keep track of the mileage by the tankful method, then an error is seeping into your calculations, the magnitude of which can vary but it's very much there.

    Leave a comment:


  • kaiserketkar
    replied
    When to tank up:
    There is a marginal expansion of volume of fuel during the day. Petrol would expand approximately 1% when the temperature rises from 15 to 24 degrees C. But this temperature change happens during the day overland. Petrol pumps store their stocks in underground tanks, where the temperature variation is not that much. But even if you consider a 1% increase in volume, an average tank up of 30 liters will give you ~300ml less, ie you're paying ~INR 2100 and but getting INR 21 worth of fuel less. This mind you, is considering a 1% volume change, reality is probably even less.
    If you do want to optimize your refuelling however, it's best not to do it in the evening, because it'll be evening by the time the underground tanks undergo change in temp.

    Leave a comment:


  • Arjun
    replied
    Gautam _67 Even I prefer Auto cut off, unless I am taking longer drives during uncertain bandh or hartal days where petrol bunks maybe closed, when I want the maximum range. I also modify my driving style to improve the range in such days. The Auto cut off feature also helps you keep a tab on the fuel efficiency when you are using an app like Fuelio. In my opinion keeping an eye on fuel efficiency is important, not just from an economical point of view,but also as a drop in fuel efficiency is an indicator of fuel quality or a problem with the car. Also, its said that as fuel is sold by volume, its best to avoid fueling in the afternoon. The fuel expands and in the afternoon you would get lesser fuel in the same volume than you would get in the evening.

    Leave a comment:


  • gautam _67
    replied
    I have also felt that they do not start from 0, especially if a small amount was filled earlier. I have now changed my practice. I come out of the car and then tell them the quantity. I prefer auto cut-off position so that the attendant will just lock and wait till it automatically cuts off. Also, suggest avoiding filling after the auto cutoff.

    Leave a comment:


  • Roshun
    replied
    It is difficult to spot the difference between 97 Octane / 93 Octane and 91/89 Octane petrol. If a pump is really that corrupt so as to fill an entire underground storage tank with a lower quality fuel and sell it as a higher quality fuel, then they will have to be reported. Unlike kerosene which is dyed blue in colour, the different grades of petrol and diesel don't have any distinguishable colour difference, unfortunately.
    Kamesh_Babhu

    Leave a comment:

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