How to Avoid Getting Cheated at the Petrol Pumps?

Published On  December 15, 2015 01:47 PM By Ruchika Jain at

Fuel prices have gone down significantly in the past 6-7 months, however, there is no doubt that it would surely increase once the global economic conditions return to normal. We cannot stop the price fluctuations, but we can surely get rid of the 'petty theft' that we come across each morning at petrol pumps. Surprised? Yes, that's true. Some fuel stations follow this practice to add those 'extra' toppings in their regular income. The 'friendly' petrol pump staff spares no one when it comes to making extra money.

Almost all of us have been victims ourselves or have witnessed people being ripped off by our trusted Petrol filling stations. This is a common scenario at most of the petrol stations across the country. Although, most of the petrol pumps in India have been advanced with the auto cut-off mechanism, digital meters, credit-card payment acceptance and ‘company-owned company-operated’ business model but staff at the fuel pumps work in coordination with each other. Scroll down to read how they do it:

Trick 1: Distraction

The oldest and popular trick that involves two or more attendants. On your turn, the attendant asks you the required quantity or sum amount of petrol to be filled. As they turn to reset the meter, the cashier or others obstruct your view by engaging you in some pointless conversation about mileage, fuel additives, or the mode of payment. The moment you get distracted to answer another attendant, the first one either starts dispensing the fuel or resets the meter and you will not be able to notice the ZERO on it. Though, the meter will show the demanded amount at the end.

Trick 2: Deviation

For instance, you ask the pump attendant to fill petrol for Rs 800 and he stop at Rs 200 only. And on being inquired he presents a lame excuse, such as you were not audible or so. Now the trap for you is that he restarts and makes sure that you are not able to see the meter this time and stop at Rs 600. If you argue, they teach you mathematics that after fueling for Rs 200 he had to set the meter at zero and stop at 600, to meet the total.

Trick 3: Manipulating Machines

Another trick played by the pump owners is them manipulating with the fuel machines. You visit the pump for refueling and the person at the machine asks you to check ZERO. When you turn to push the petrol tank button and come back you notice a 100 figure on the meter. On inquiring, he explains that it is the reading from the previous fueling that was done just before you. But the fact is that the guy who took fuel before you, departed within few seconds. This way he has been cheated of Rs 100 and left without the amount of petrol he paid for.

Trick 4: Intervening the Dispenser Nozzle

It is generally found that the pump attendants keep their fingers tight on the nozzle and interrupt the flow of fuel manually. In this way, the required amount of fuel gets short by few milliliters. With these type of tricks, the pump staff saves probably litres of oil in a single day.

Trick 5: Using Unnecessarily Longer Dispenser Pipe

Another difficult-to-detect hoax that is skillfully done by many pumps is using a comparatively longer fuel dispenser pipe. Being longer, the dispenser pipe saves hugely for the dealer. A fair amount of fuel dispensed in each transaction is leftover in the pipe and is returned back to the pump tank.

Trick 6: Fuel Adulteration

The simplest and the most effective way of cheating used by almost all the petrol pumps is the adulteration of fuel. Usually, the dealers chemically adulterate the petrol by adding Naphtha, which is a byproduct and is as dense as petrol. It does not leave residue and is cheaper than its counterpart.

So, how to save yourself from these devious acts of the pump staff? Most importantly, stay alert and act smart. Here are some of the counter-tricks or precautions to cut them.

  • Always, get off from your car, lock the vehicle and stand close to petrol tank and see the readings. Keep a continuous watch at the meter reading and at the fueling person, throughout your turn.
  • Just AVOID getting involved in any type of conversion with anyone at the petrol pump and always be in sight of the machine.
  • Do not hurry and always pay at the end of the transaction.
  • Ask for a printed receipt every time, as far as possible.
  • Check the meter reading after opening the petrol tank or before fueling starts and again at the very end.
  • Always check for zero before they start filling, even if the petrol pump is overcrowded.
  • End the transaction right there, in case the meter is stopped for any reason.
  • If at any instance, you are not satisfied with the quantity or quality of fuel, insist for the complaint book, as the oil companies take the complaint book very seriously.
  • Ask the attendant firmly to keep his hands off the nozzle and wait for the auto cut-off to kick-in.
  • Park the car a bit away from the machine and let the attendant stretch the pipe to your fuel lid. Ask him to hold the nozzle at certain height post he is done fueling up the tank in order to allow the residual to flow in.
  • If you are still not satisfied with the services of the petrol station, approach the public grievance cell.


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