Are You Being Cheated at the Gas Pump?

by Lori. LAST UPDATED ON
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Are you being cheated at the gas pump? Over the last few months, as my husband was reconciling our gas charges, he noticed that we were being charged more than usual at one particular gas station. It is right by our house, and my husband, my daughter and I often bought our gas from this station.

We started to write down how much gas we were getting on our receipts and comparing it to the charge and yes, we were being overcharged. We notified American Express, they have always been wonderful whenever we have a dispute or problem, and they made it right on our bill. We reported the gas station and do not use that gas station any longer.

As I mentioned this story at work, several other people mentioned that they were getting overcharged too or knew someone else who has this complaint.

I am encouraging you to pay close attention, especially if you gas prices are rising the way they are here in southern California.

Today, I came across this useful article from the deal site Buxr on the same topic. Here is an excerpt:

“When faulty pumps are condemned, a red plastic bag is normally placed over them to indicate that they’re out of service. Then the station has 10 days to correct the problem before an inspector returns to re-inspect the pumps.

Michigan state auditors found unacceptable the policy of inspecting gas pumps every four years or in response to a complaint. In Minnesota, 12 inspectors have to cover 50,000 gas pumps, and obviously can’t visit all of them often enough. In New Hampshire and Arkansas, gas stations are allowed the questionable option of hiring their own inspectors; while Tennessee and Florida rely on “statistical sampling” with inspectors visiting most stations only when they get a complaint. In Oregon, self-serve gas pumping is not even allowed!

About two years ago, Texas required a QR code sticker be placed on every gas pump, so customers could scan it with a smartphone to view the station’s inspection history and instantly file a complaint at this fuel pump feedback link. State officials believe the QR codes will promote more accuracy at gas pumps. In New York, complaints about gas stations are also accepted online.

An audit for the past year ending in June 2013 by the Arizona Department of Weights and Measures showed a 17% increase in violations over the previous year. There are other violations besides inaccuracy, like not printing a receipt, and some flagged pumps are actually delivering a little more than you pay for. There is a small tolerance allowed either way, and most of the pump malfunctions are due to negligence, and not deliberate deception. But a discrepancy of even pennies adds up to thousands of dollars per pump every year, whether it’s in favor of the station or the consumer. Wear on older pumps causes miscalibration, and the mechanical failure is often in the customer’s favor.

Nationwide, nearly 125,000 convenience stores are responsible for an estimated 80% of all gas sold in the United States, according to the National Association of Convenience Stores. Privately-run gas stations may be more likely to have miscalibrated pumps because the cost to have them professionally recalibrated is expensive. By contrast, large gas stations run by corporations are most likely to be precisely calibrated.
No matter which state you’re in or which state agency oversees the pumps in your state, you can file a complaint. Contact your State’s weights and measures official from one of these lists posted here or here.”

To prevent being cheated at a gas station, read these tips over at Buxr.

Has anyone else been cheated at the gas pump lately?

 



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