Cheating at a Petrol Pump – is this a common ruse?

Petrol PumpOne day while driving from Bangalore to Mysore, we stopped somewhere near Maddur to pick up some petrol. Looking at the fuel gauge, I thought it will be good to top up petrol worth Rs 800/-..
As we drove to the first accessible petrol station without a crowd, the attendant smiled, opened the lid to the petrol tank and asked “How much, sir?”
“Petrol of 800 rupees”, I said.
He reset the pump counter and asked me to ‘check zero’.

He stopped when the meter showed Rs.200/=.
“But I wanted for Rs 800/=”, I said.
Petrol PumpAs he said “sorry sir, will put in”, another colleague of his came along and asked me if I wanted some filter or cleaning spray (or something like that), which I refused. By then first attendant said, “done, sir, please check.” The meter was showing Rs. 600/=.
“I wanted for Rs. 800/=,” I said, getting slightly annoyed now.
“But I reset to zero after 200, so 200 plus 600 is 800”, said the attendant.
Petrol PumpI was very sure that he had not reset to zero. I suspect that the whole thing is a sting operation to siphon off a few rupees from many customers. The act of stopping after 200, the colleague appearing just at the right moment, all point to a coordinated move.
However, I had two doubts – (1) what if he had reset the meter to zero after 200, and I had not noticed it?, and (2) what if he made a genuine error? I also did not have any proof, nor did I have the time to make a complaint and get into endless arguments.
So, I paid the 800 rupees and drove off. Maybe others do the same, too.
I should have just paid Rs 200/- at the first point and driven off (to the next petrol pump), rather than asking him to fill up to Rs 800/-. I will do that the next time.

Please feel free to share your views, experiences, and queries, using the “comments” feature.

Author: Rajesh Naik

I'm Rajesh Naik, and this is my personal website If you are interested in contacting me, I am also available on LinkedIn and I will be glad to accept your invite.

One thought on “Cheating at a Petrol Pump – is this a common ruse?”

  1. Rajesh,

    I have encountered exactly the same situation multiple times; however I did not find any intention nor act of cheating. 80% of people who fill in fuel generally do so in small quantities and hence the attendants are used to hearing Rs 200 fills.

    Of course needless to add, keeping an eye on the meter all the time always help.

    I also make it a point to fill up at Club HP bunks; Club HP bunks have implemened internal Quality controls (so chances of adulterated fuel being filled at such bunks may be less)..


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