Alleged Cheating Of Customers In Petrol Pumps: Lawyer Moves Supreme Court

Alleged Cheating  Of Customers In Petrol Pumps: Lawyer Moves Supreme Court

With petrol pumps across country allegedly cheating customers by giving fuel less than the quantity paid for, an advocate has moved the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas to act on his representation wherein he has suggested measures such as a transparent hose pipe instead of the regular black one and a transparent dispenser to be fixed with the fuel vending machine to save consumers from being cheated.

Advocate Amit Sahni has moved a PIL wherein he has raised the issue of how petrol pumps have made it a business practice to dupe customers by giving then less fuel than what they actually pay for.

Sahni said the petrol pumps use a micro-chip which cut down the flow of fuel by as much as ten percent while the meter reading speeds up.

In his petition filed through advocate Preeti Singh, Sahni says, "The Culprits, who are indulged in cheating at Petrol Pumps in connivance with either the concerned department or Police, should not be permitted to become rich by continuously permitting them to cheat public at large, thereby discouraging honesty".

The petition says the petrol pump owners these days use a "hyper-technical mechanism for cheating customer by using a micro-chip for vending lesser fuel. At some places remotes are used for the purpose of increasing or decreasing the measurement depending upon the customer's attitude".

Sahni shares various incidents reported widely to substantiate his argument. In one such case from Punjab, while a staffer filled fuel in a car, the customer learnt that there was only the sound of petrol being filled in the tank but no fuel was actually being filled in.

"By the new methods of cheating, the culprits change the programme in the ICs (Integrated Circuits) placed in the dispensers by tampering with the pulser cards, motherboards, control cards and keypads to ensure dispensing of lesser fuel from the dispenser to the customers. In certain cases, the pulse board of the fuel dispenser was rigged using a microchip so that lesser amount of fuel will be delivered to the customers than what is displayed," says he.

It is to be noted that in year 2017, the Petroleum Minister had advised the State Governments to conduct surprise inspections at Petrol Pumps and check for the chips, which cut the outflow of fuel by as much as 10%.

Sahni had sent a representation to the Petroleum Ministry on December 7, 2018.

In the said representation, he had suggested that –

  1. Black Hosepipe used at the petrol pumps for vending fuel may be replaced with transparent pipe so that the consumer can see the fuel passing through the same in his/her vehicle
  2. Transparent Dispenser with measuring labels may be installed/connected along with the Fuel Vending Machines in such a way that the quantity of fuel paid for first fills in the dispenser and then transmitted into the vehicle.

Since the Centre did not act on his representation, he has now moved the Supreme Court.