Outlet employees divert attention of motorists and fill less fuel
The next time your petrol bunk attendant asks, “Why is the petrol tank lid so dirty” or “Is there a problem with your tyres”, beware. It could be an attempt to distract you from observing the fuel dispenser’s metre.
Attention-diversion tactics at petrol bunks are more prevalent than one might realise.
At most petrol bunks in the city, motorists, mainly two-wheeler riders, who fill fuel for Rs. 100 or more end up with less.
“A few days ago, I filled fuel for Rs. 200 at an outlet on Anna Salai. The staff diverted my attention by saying there was dirt on my tank lid and then I saw the fuel dispenser metre showing Rs. 50.20 from the previous customer. I strongly suspect he didn’t reset the metre and filled petrol worth just Rs. 150, despite charging me Rs. 200,” says Ashok Kumar from Choolaimedu.
While a cross-section of motorists say they have experienced such diversionary tactics at petrol bunks, most of them do not wish to file complaints.
There are usually arguments with the petrol bunk staff which sometimes become subdued when the number of staff members outnumbers the customer and counter-arguments begin.
Formal police complaints are rarely registered. But the fact is, at some bunks, the fraud is orchestrated in an organised fashion.
“In some cases, the attendant who manages to trick the customer keeps the extra Rs. 50 or Rs. 100, but at some petrol bunks, the entire staff is party to the fraud. No less than 20 motorists are cheated each day, and at the end of the day, the cashier or manager of the bunk calculates the sale and divides the extra money, which could easily run to a few thousands,” says a petrol bunk staff from Guindy, seeking anonymity.
Many motorists have lamented extensively, time and again, on social media.
Two months ago, a video post of the fraud at a Bharat Petroleum outlet in Teynamet, filmed by Kiruba Shankar, a social media consultant who was victim to the fraud, went viral.
But the fraud continues, and it primarily affects the common man who struggles with ever-escalating fuel prices.