Scam Alert: Thane pump attended caught red-handed while tampering meter reading

Scam Alert: Thane pump attended caught red-handed while tampering meter reading
If the motorist hadn’t caught the attendant red-handed, he would have been robbed of Rs 383 during a single refuelling (Picture Courtesy: Shashank Shetty)

If the sky-high fuel costs weren’t a problem already, cheating petrol pump attendants continue to plague motorists – with the most recent case caught on tape at an Indian Oil petrol pump in Thane.

Shashank Shetty, who had gone to refuel his car late Monday night, shared the details of the incident in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.

In the post, Shetty details how he caught a pump attendant red-handed while he was attempting to con him of Rs 380 bucks during a single refuelling at Kailash Petrol Pump.

“This post is about Monday night (22/10/2018) around 11 pm. I was almost zero on my fuel and so thought of refilling it at the Indian Oil Petrol Pump located opposite Vihangs Inn, Ghodbunder Road, Thane. The usually busy pump was relatively free and hence I queued my car in the second row for Petrol. The attendant came from my left, knocked my window and asked: “Sahab kitna” – to which I replied petrol Rs 2500. The guy set the machine at Rs 2500 and started filling petrol,” Shetty wrote.

The modus operandi for conning customers involved a simple misdirection, during which the attendant would manually edit the meter reading.

“When the meter crossed Rs 1500, another attendant came from the right side of the vehicle to collect Debit Card from me for swiping. To distract me, he said, “Sahab chip error aa raha hai”. Within a fraction of moment, the first attendant had stopped the meter on the machine and manually entered Rs 2500,” he elaborated.

The jig was up after Shetty got down and asked the attendant to give the slip.

“Since I knew about their dirty tactics, I came out of the vehicle and asked the attendant to give me slip from the machine to which he confessed duping me and other customers by manually entering the desired value,” the businessman added.

The Thane-resident was about to be robbed of Rs 383 during a single refuelling. What’s more, he was asked to leave when he started recording evidence.

“In a single transaction with car, they dupe people to the tune of around Rs 350. In my case, it was exactly Rs 383.67 which they were intending to steal. While I was fighting with these guys and making a confession video, two unknown goons arrived from nowhere and tried to threaten me and asked me to leave the spot and do whatever I can. I swiped my actual bill amount and left from the spot,” the post read.

In the video, the attendant confessed to duping customers and said everyone except the manager was involved in the racket. The motorist then called up the pump manager.

“Upon realising his mistake and also the fact that I have concrete proofs – the manager tried to pacify me by refunding my entire amount. I refused to accept it with a promise to take this matter with the respective authorities in Indian Oil Corporation. The same manager has spoken to me on a couple of previous occasions where I had warned him about the wrongdoings in his petrol pump,” Shetty said.

Unfortunately, all he got from the manager were apologies and false assurances.

“I met the manager again yesterday morning wanting to talk to the owner and IOCL Incharge – but all I got was apologies and tall promises. All the staff who have been caught redhanded are still working at the same pump which makes me wonder if there is a bigger nexus involved,” he said.

Shetty ended the post with a word of caution for fellow motorists.

“This makes me wonder the amount of fraud these guys would be doing in a single day and how each and every Thanekar is being looted. The common man is anyways suffering from the price hikes on petrol and diesel and to make the matter worse, these guys are running a round-the-clock robbery under the guise of gas station. This post is not to name and shame anyone but this is just to alert fellow Thanekars to beware and make sure not to get duped by such fraudsters,” he concluded.

Meanwhile, Shetty has also lodged a complaint in the matter at Chitalsar Police Station.

Instances of theft or cheating at petrol pumps, incidentally, have become a common occurrence. In the past, several alert citizens have uncovered such scams – undertaken either by the attendants or owners.

While attendants typically resort to sleight of hand, owners have been caught fiddling with the dispensing units. In either case, the miscreants seldom face the consequences.

During a month-long drive in March last year, the Department of Legal Metrology raided thousands of pumps across the state and sealed 41 dispensing units across the Mumbai Metropolitan region for erratic fuel delivery.

Complaining about errant pumps:

In case a customer feels cheated, he or she can complain to the Legal Metrology Department about errant petrol pumps by calling 022-22886666 or sending a WhatsApp to 9869691666.

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