ANDHRA PRADESH

Petrol bunk dealers fleece consumers

No option: Motorists are often taken for a ride at petrol bunks. —   | Photo Credit: A file photo

M. Srinivas

Denial of small change makes big difference to motorists



“It is not feasible to fill fuel for small change,” argues a dealer

Attention diversion by customer-friendly acts like offering water, cleaning vehicles alleged



HYDERABAD: The latest price hike of fuels – petrol and diesel, will be an additional burden on people of the twin cities as they are already being fleeced by some fuel-filling outlets in different ways.

Dealers refusing to return small change, not dispensing fuel as per the meter and diverting attention when fuelling are common occurrences.

“When you go to a petrol bunk and ask for a fill for Rs.100, you get fuel for Rs.99.70 as per reading on the meter on the dispensing machine.

When you ask the worker for the remaining 30 paisa change, we are rebuffed,” complained a motorist R.V.N. Chander.

Pitfalls

If taking fuel in round figures is not working out, the other system of fuelling in litres too has its pitfalls. “I filled in two litres and instead of giving me 70 paisa; a 50 paisa coin was thrust into my hand only when asked. Is this not cheating?” asked D.V. Rao, another citizen.

If the small change is not given, the other excuse is to blame the dispensing machine. “The meter is not working, sir,” is the ready answer. It might appear to be a small change, but is surely adding to the burden of consumer along with periodic hikes. There are more than 200 fuel filling stations dispensing 7,000-10,000 litres of petrol alone each day here. “Imagine the revenue generated from scores of customers everyday. Is there any law or agency which can control this,” asked Mr. Chander.

“It is not feasible to fill fuel for 30 paisa,” maintained a dealer. What about loss to consumer? He shrugged pointing out that it is difficult to get small change. But, does that give licence to dealers to charge more for less fuel?

Workers blamed

Some dealers put the blame on workers for resorting to such “tricks”. Motorists also complain about diverting their attention by offering “customer-friendly” services like cleaning vehicle and supplying water.

Even as they engage in conversation with workers, staffers suddenly operate dispensing machine and fill petrol.

Vehicle owners could lodge complaint to officials concerned if they found anyone committing fraud, observed A.P. Federation of Petroleum Traders President M. Prabhakar Reddy.

Action against dealers

The Legal Metrology Department Assistant Controller, P. Venkatram Reddy, said action would be taken against dealers if anyone lodges a specific complaint.

(Readers are invited to email any such grievances to ‘ >hydlife@thehindu.co.in’.)