Jun 2, 2010

35 How petrol pump attendants cheat you..!!

How some petrol pump attendants in India try to cheat.. and how not to get cheated

After reading this article, I am sure many in India would get a deja vu.

Modus Operandi: Distract and Cheat

Thanks to the billion plus population of our country, there seems to be a waiting line for almost everything. From buying of kindergarten admission forms for your kids to mundane activities like filing fuel in your bike, its guaranteed that in India you’ll have to queue up for it.

Some petrol pump attendants sometime try to take advantage of this queue and try to cheat you in 3 simple steps,

(Photo used for illustration purpose only)

Step 1: If the guy before you has filled up 1 liter of fuel and say you want to fill 2 liters, the petrol pump attendant sometime don’t reset the meter to zero reading

Step 2: They’ll ask for the quantity that you want and then try to distract you

Step 3: And if they are successful in distracting you even for the slightest moment, they will start to fill fuel in your vehicle without setting the reading to zero

So you end up paying more for less.

Techniques used to distract your attention:

Technique 1: There are two attendants. One armed with the nozzle to fill the fuel and the other ready to distract you, with questions like (posted below)

Technique 2: The attendant tries to cover the meter with his body and then distract you, with questions like (posted below)

Technique 3: Sometimes the meter is initially started from zero but it is suddenly stopped in between (say at the Rs. 50 mark when you had actually asked for Rs.150 worth fuel).

On asking, the attendant will then say that he heard you incorrectly and would fill the rest of the amount. He will try not reset the meter back to zero and then try to distract you, with questions like (posted below). Once distracted, he'll continue 'without resetting' till the 100 rupee mark. So it would seem to you that a total of Rs. 150 (50 +100) fuel has been put in, but in reality you get only Rs. 100 worth of fuel.

[Note: Technique 3 seems to be a very common fraud practice, read a similar article on this blog]

Questions meant to distract (collection of a few that I have come across so far):

>> "How would you like to pay? Cash or card?",

>> "Have you got change?"

>> "Hundred? How many hundreds (in case you ask fuel worth a hundred rupees,)"?

>> "Shall I make it Rs. 110 instead of Rs. 100?"

How NOT to get cheated:

1. If you develop doubt over a particular petrol pump, then AVOID that particular petrol pump in the future like the plague. I have also seen that there are petrol pumps which do not indulge in such activities. Identify such pumps and try to fill from these pumps only

2. In any case, don’t believe the attendants and NEVER EVER TAKE YOUR EYES FROM THE METER. Get it set to zero and do not take your eyes off till the last drop comes out of the nozzle

3. If an attendant tries to be chatty, DON'T LISTEN to him. Tell him (without taking your eyes off the meter) to set the meter to zero, ask him to fill, do not take your eyes off the meter till the last drop and after that proceed to make payment.

Golden Rule: Never take your eyes off the meter

Phew.. in India it takes more than good riding skills to make a better rider.

By the way, I am sure that you must also have experienced similar attempts to cheat. Do you have any special experience to share?

Could you also remember any other type of distracting questions?

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This is to remind that the Views or Opinions in the blog are entirely mine unless explicitly stated. The Views and Opinions published in this blog should in no way be related to any other person or organization associated -- directly or indirectly -- with me.


Sajal said...

I almost fell into this 50+50 = 150 situation once.... but yeah luckily I kept my eyes on the meter and got it reset to 0 before the guy jacked in another 100 :)

Akash said...

thanks a lot for the tips. these buggers are really a pain. will always keep my eyes on the meter

Anonymous said...

it happened to me too!!!

Bharathwajan T S said...

Hi Satadal:

I've come across the exact same scenarios mentioned in the article....refueling frauds.

Have you tried the Shell pumps? They seem at least to maintain some decency over such petty things. I've had a pretty nice exp with 'em and have since stopped going to other pumps in extremis.

Yours sincerely
Bharathwajan T S

Anonymous said...

i do face such scenarios a lot. i think we need to have a list of validated petrol pumps and the one which are cheating.

Shouldn't we have such a website??? i think its because of very poor law and order....

Ojaswee said...


Bharathwajan T S said...

Hi Satadal:

I've come across the exact same scenarios mentioned in the article....refueling frauds.

Have you tried the Shell pumps? They seem at least to maintain some decency over such petty things. I've had a pretty nice exp with 'em and have since stopped going to other pumps in extremis.

Yours sincerely
Bharathwajan T S

Prof Lalit said...


Anonymous said...

once i went 2 petrol pump with my frns seatd on back as usual n askd him 2 fill 200rs petrol so, it waz d day of festival n me n my frn wer in deep discussion n he filled the petrol n i hold d money thinkin dat he l take it bt he was soo busy dat he din even respond me n i thought it was my festival gift kept d money in poket startd my bike n came out with free petrol of 200rs
ha ha ha!!! :) :)

Deepak Verma said...

yes, i have cheated by many petrol pumps attenders but after that i gave them all a proper lesson by calling their higher athourities ( Manager/Owner )...

One of their most common trick in Chandigarh City....

(1)When u stop bike to fuel it up...One of attender come to collect money before filling fuel and the other one said...u don't pay money after fuel..

(2)One of attender come to distract u to give some complementary mobil oil to ur's bike handle lock and fuel tank cover lock and another one stop meter earlier and switch it to zero quickly before u see the exact meter reading.

Anonymous said...

Is there any adjustments in the nozzle trigger when i asked to lock they dont want like to do it

raja pramod saakshya said...

the best way is always fill up in bottle first and then pour into our fuel tank. that's why the bunk attendants always use separate counter.. got it

sudhir said...

Its best to go for Shell petrol, because of two reasons:
1. Their service is best. Only one attendant, and the meter is monitored both by the attendant, and another one in the cash counter.
2. The fuel quality and quantity is also good. Just like they claim it, your bike will give more mileage and vibrations will be reduced drastically.

The only problem with Shell is that they have very few pumps, and fuel price is slightly more than other brands.

Anonymous said...

I had an incident two day back at HP petrol bunk near Jayadeva hospital, Bangalore.
I had asked him to fill petrol for Rs 400/- , but he filed it only for 300. When I asked him he then reset it to zero and then entered 100 rs. By then, the cashier came and distracted me. The attendant did not fill the petrol and removed the nozzle. Fortunately, I was aware of things happening around me. I immediately caught hold of the attendant and slapped left and right.

Anonymous said...

people..please be careful.. especially those who stay in VASAI (Maharashtra Dist.).. be extra careful as these guys try n cheat you FOR SURE! So be alert!!

svr said...

I've been cheated in a unique way! I asked for 500 rs petrol in my car, and the guy filled the tank with 500rs worth petrol untill i realised after certain distance, that my car has been filled with petrol worth rs 200-300 only. Yes, the meter was set top zero, and i had a watch on him till the last moment, but still i was cheated. I feel that it has something to do with thew nozzle trigger. Initially petrol is poured into the tank and then in the midway only air passes into ur vehicle(courtsey-some triger mechanism by the pump attender) but the meter continues till the pre-marked value. Can it be possible?? These buggers are always have something up in their sleeves to cheat the customers!!!!

S.P - Biker Next Door said...

@SRV and everyone above,

these cheaters are a real nuisance.. maybe its better to fill up petrol from reputed pumps like SHELL Petrol Pumps, one will at least have peace of mind.

Rajiv Samson said...

Guys I faced most of these problems. At first I thought my bike and car were giving a low avarage. Then after one of my friends suggestion, I started to fill full tanks on my car n bike. This way there is a very small chance of getting cheated as you will know the tank capacity and the amount of fuel going in. I have started getting better milage after doing this.(OR RATHER MY MILAGE IS THE SAME BUT I STARTED GETTING THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF FUEL I PAID FOR). Please try this out. It helped me.

Anonymous said...

I generally ignore them when these guys try to distract me with their compliments or conversation.
Not just looking at the meter, ENSURE that the "nozzle trigger is on the lock mode" because there is a system called "AIR OUT" where the attentend can actually keep the meter running without the fuel flowing.
So...the trick is to stare at his hand and at the meter at-times so that he gets the message that "u r aware about these dirty tricks"

Anonymous said...

As much as possible, always try to have a friend with you whenever u fill petrol for a bigger amount so that one of you can check the meter and the other to watch the attentant's hand to know whether he is trying his tricks with the NOZZLE TRIGGER.

Anonymous said...

always brim up..
they cannot dupe you of fuel more than half a litre and overtime you'll learn the amount of fuel like from reserve to reserve.. this surely helped me in chandigarh..

Anonymous said...

well.... my advice..1.don't unlock the fuel tank unless they set the meter to zero or your desired amount..take you time ..don't let them rush ...neither should u rush..extra 30 sec-1 minute spent might save your 100 rs...pretend that ur tank lock is not opening while keeping a watch on the meter...2. in case they stop in between ...say u asked for 200 rs & they stop on 150 or 100...just agree with them & say ..ya right i asked only for 150 or 100..got it..pay & try next petrol pump for additional fuel ..they are plenty in city ..:-) ... consultant on all matters (COAM):-)

Gunawan MS said...

Well, in Indonesia, the gas station attendants MUST set up the meter to zero and state it to the consumers BEFORE anything being done, and from my experience, that rule's carried over all over the country pretty well.

The only thing that might enable some "cheating" (if we call it that way), is actually involving the consumers as well. They ask to fill the tank to its fullest, disregarding the exact amount of money or volumes.

As the result, if the reading is, say, 9870 rupiahs and the tank's already full, the payment would be 10,000 rupiahs without any change, since the smallest change was 500 rupiahs. But most consumers seem to allow that practise here.

amit borate said...

mostly used statement they make is cash or card even if the amount of fuel is of worth Rs 100 ...
and most of the times we get distracted if there are more then 2 employees, one of them fills the gas and other one who trys to be more friendly than necessary.....

Pawan Ganbote said...


Chethan Srinivas said...

Since I bought the bike(CB Unicorn), i(also many) ve been cheated atleast Rs 500 till now even though i take care to watch the meter, tending exact change for the petrol is also a good way to get away from getting conned. For riding in the city 50, 100, 150 is more than enough, the more u fill chances are that they ll con u some how, if you ll pay(more) while they fill u ll get less petrol or some change, so always pay after they fill, they will make you feel that they are in a hurry and you are slow(that we are) so they wave their hands go fast get lost..be aware fill your tank a night before going to work or college rather than on the way( you ll be giving then a chance to cheat you every time.

Anonymous said...

Dear S.P. i wud like to tell about my experience that netime i go for refueling my vehicle the attendant ...(on the digital meters)
1. sets the zero and tells to check...Ok
2. starts filling...ok
3. he locks the lever untill auto cut...ok
4.he holds it at his own will and gives a break to the lever like 'khatak' and immediately when aked for his deed he says 'bhaiya hum apke saamne pipe aapko de dete hain aur meter chala dete hain ... ap chaho toh hazar baar lever dabo lo par petrol utna hi ayega... are chotu zara 5 ltr. wala dabba lana toh zara...' and then i start to argue with him
i mean man wtf ...

so i actually i wanted to ask dat "does the jerking really help or is it just the myth"

coz i have myself tried the dabba thing and its like 60% dat my suspicion came out true...
thanx and regards

Anonymous said...

I filled my car with petrol for 500 rs. The Car's fuel gauge is working perfectly fine, which I am sure off. I got of the car and made sure that the attendant is actually filling... I took the car off the pump and when I checked the fuel gauge have not been moved a bit!!!! Later couple of my friends also told that they faced same issue with that pump!!! I am not sure how they are able to make the meter move, but not actually fill!!! Can they pump air?????

Chandu said...

Advantages of getting petrol filled at SHELL Stations.

1) Attendant will ask to get down the bike.
2) He will do a Namaskar and ask you want normal petrol or Power
3) He will say "100Rs Normal Petrol Sir, Please check the Zero"
4) He will announce the completion of the petrol, handover the bill and collect money.
5) One more guy will be having control of all the pumps will sit inside the office and watch over if these guys cheat..

Gunjan said...

Wow, this thread is more than 2.5 yrs old and we're still getting new comments. I've experienced this twice, but was saved because of the "never let eyes off the meter" rule. :) Here's how it happened:

1. I check zero, ask for petrol worth Rs.500. One guy starts filling.
2. Another attendant standing on my other side starts chatting up with a big smile and acting as if we're long lost friends. Puts a drop of mobil oil in my bike tank lock as a goodwill gesture.
3. I turn and just as the meter was reset to zero notice that it has stopped at 400. I challenge him about the same, he insists that he filled the complete petrol. I challenge him again, he pretends to check the machine's logs (it's a new digital machine) and says that I'm right and the machine had malfunctioned.
4. Fills the remaining 100 bucks of petrol.
5. I avoid that petrol bunk ever since except when really required. And am extra careful.

1. I drive into an unknown petrol station and stop my car next to the filling station. The attendant asks me to move my car a bit too far ahead, so much so that the only way I can see the meter is to stretch halfway backwards.
2. Another attendant, ever so smiling and sweet, chats up with me asking me about my mobile phone, its features, how awesome it would be and blah and blah.
3. Once bitten twice shy, I stretch back again to take a look at the meter and momentarily see it stop at Rs. 398 and x Ltr of petrol. Immediately after that it started displaying Rs. 500 and the quantity filled is blank; the attendant filling the petrol must have pressed some buttons.
4. I come out and challenge them about it. They first insist that the correct amount was filled, then pretend to check the logs in the digital filling station and subsequently tell me that I was right and the machine had stopped and isn't working any more.
5. I tell them that I must speak to the manager so that such faulty machines must be replaced.
6. When I tell what had happened the manager once reprimanded the attendant for doing funny stuff. But I have a feeling that he knew about the whole scam and was a part of it.

I'm sure some of the petrol pump attendants are genuinely warm and welcoming, but it's always better to be doubly sure and watch out for the cheats. :)

Anonymous said...

There is another case where the Petrol Dispenser Meter runs fine, shows complete figures, like if you asked for Rs. 1000/-, it will show total Rs. 1000/-, but there is not a single drop of petrol gone in you fuel tank....
This is usually done by recallibrating the Fuel Dispenser Digital meter.

Anonymous said...

My god!!,
Same thing happened to me as gunjan above.
While i ensured that meter was set to zero initially before filling,i didn't keep my eyes on it afterwards.The attendant pointed me to two guys squabbling over at some distance.And within a few seconds he tapped my tank lock with a drop of oil as a goodwill gesture.When i looked up the meter was set at zero again.No trace of the crime left.It was like a bloody magic show or something.
I felt something strange had happened and couldn't really believe that all of the petrol was in in such short time.But then i was only getting a small amount of fuel and there was a long line at my back so didn't really feel like protesting.
Hats off to these cons.Brilliant magicians they are indeed.Real professional stuff.

amit borate said...

these little tricks, to exploit consumer and not going to cease....
unless...taken care of by authorities
till then be on the safer side and fill up only at reputed pumps..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advisories!!!!!!!

If these cheats did it in my home country they'd be hit really hard, then handed over to the police wth the explanation, "Oh sorry, he fell down" and service station closed down with a very big fine! In the US they'd be shot. Any questions???

Anonymous said...

I've faced this situation most of the time in indian oil petrol pump near shyamal crossroads which is next to sachin tower.

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