Are you fond of chatting on your phone, responding to messages or scrolling through social media posts while the petrol station attendant fills your car tank?
If your answer is yes, then you might want to reconsider this habit because there are two types of petrol station attendants – the honest/sincere ones and the dishonest/crooked ones. The good ones fuel your car with precisely what you paid for while the bad ones constantly try to cheat you.
You should, therefore, pay more attention to petrol station attendants, especially if you have been suspecting that the fuel you buy doesn’t last as long as it used to.
Below are some of the dirty tricks that ‘some’ petrol station attendants use when they want to rip you off.
Recall or TIM/CAL Trick
This is a label on petrol dispensing machines that enables an attendant to recall past sales. If he wants to see the last ten sales, all he has to do is to press the ‘Recall’ button and all the past ten sales and the amount in naira will appear.
Therefore, if a customer wants to buy fuel of maybe N5,000, the fuel attendant could sell a quantity worth N4,500 and press the recall button to show an earlier sale of N5,000. This can be done when the customer fails to pay attention to the attendant serving him/her.
Some of the more unscrupulous attendants go as far as writing down past sales on a paper where they can easily take a glance to know, which number to recall once they observe the customer is distracted.
Fake Hanging of the Nozzle
Ideally, when the nozzle is hanging on the dispensing machine, the readings revert to zero. But the fuel attendants have found a way to beat this expected reading of the nozzle to make some extra cash.
They hang it in a way that the nozzle won’t click to rub off the old sales and revert to zero. Therefore, this fake hanging means that the next consumer that comes will also pay for the last fuel sold.
The reading then begins with the last customer’s purchase. Many attendants have been caught using this method during fuel scarcity when customers are too distracted to notice. It is also a useful trick if the last fuel sold is in small quantity.
The Okada and Keke Napep Opportunity
If you patronise commercial motorcycles and tricycles, known as Okada and Keke Napep, respectively, you would have noticed that they usually buy fuel in small bits, between N200 and N500, just to run around until they make some more money to fill their tanks with small bits of fuel again.
This means after selling in small quantity to the Okada, the next buyer could bear the charges for the fuel if the fuel attendant quickly inserts the nozzle into the vehicle without clearing the previous sale. What is needed is a crooked petrol station attendant and a distracted customer.
The Fill-Up-Your-Tank Trick
Many petrol station attendants know that filling up your tank is a great way to make money out of you because when the pump clicks off automatically, the fuel stops entering your car.
What follows is a diversion of the fuel through the pump’s vapour recovery system and back into the station’s tank. Voila! You are paying for what you didn’t get.
There are quite some good reasons you shouldn’t top up your tank. Your vehicle is in dire need of space in the fuel tank for vapours to expand.
What overfilling does to your car is to force gas into the car’s carbon filter. This is not without consequences. You have poor performance, reduced mileage and costly repairs resulting from this mistake.
The Faulty Meter Trick
If it takes lesser time to fill your tank at a particular petrol station, just be sure that someone has messed with the meter. A rigged meter starts reading before the fuel even starts flowing into your vehicle. Sometimes, the attendant may make you believe that a particular meter is faster or slower, don’t fall for this. They have manipulated the meter depending on how they want it to work.
The Trick of Paying For the Jerrycan
Have you ever gone to buy at a petrol station without your car? If you have, you must have been a victim at this at some point.
For this trick to work on you, you must be in a situation where you are buying fuel at the petrol station without your car. This means you are buying the fuel inside a jerrycan.
Let’s say you intend to buy fuel worth N2,000, the petrol station attention starts selling but when the meter gets to N1,920 or N1,950, he/she freezes the transaction and makes a move to attend to end your sale right there.
If you ask why the sale was paused at N1,940 or N1,950, you are told that you are paying for buying inside a jerrycan rather than directly inside your vehicle.
Many have fallen victim to this dirty trick and while N50 might seem an insignificant amount of money to banter over, the petrol attendant employs this dirty trick on as many customers as he/she possibly can.
Picture a scenario where this trick is used on two hundred customers in one day, that is a cool N10,000 going into the fuel attendant’s pocket using a simple trick.
However, if you insist on having your complete fuel, they usually waste no time in topping up the fuel to give you what you have paid for to avoid attracting unnecessary attention to themselves.
Next time a petrol station attendant tries to make you pay for the jerrycan, stand your ground and politely insist on having your complete fuel.
Final Thoughts on Dirty Tricks Petrol Station Attendants Use
When at the petrol station, focus on the transaction rather than allowing your phone or small talks distract you. Distraction is a very potent weapon in the hands of a crooked petrol station attendant so don’t be a victim.
Have you ever had a feeling you were ripped off at a petrol station or have you caught an attendant trying to pull a fast one on you? Feel free to share your petrol station experience with us in the comment section below.