There are approximately 43,000 plus petrol pump across India that may affiliate to companies like HPCL, IOCL, and BPCL where millions of litres of fuel are dispensed to consumers every day and undeniably almost every one of us has come across some fraudulent practices or other inconvenience at fuel stations. Very few of us are actually aware of the rights we have as consumers which petrol pump staffs are bound to oblige.
So today we will talk about customers’ rights and responsibilities on a fuel station.
Rights as consumers
1. Facilities that should be provided by a fuel station regardless which company it is affiliated to:-
In case you didn’t know that every fuel station must include amenities.
- Free air pressure adjustment in your vehicle
- Drinking water
- First aid box in case of any injury or wounds
- Complaint box to register grievances
- Safety equipment as per statutory requirements such as fire extinguishers and sand buckets etc.
- A display of fuel prices and working hours
- Display of licence, name and phone number of the station manager along with phone number of oil company personnel for the convenience of customers.
2. Quality: Customers also have the right to carry a quality check to ensure that the product is meeting the specification and is free from any contamination.
- Filter paper test (for petrol): Clean the mouth of the dispensing nozzle and put a drop of petrol on the filter paper from the nozzle. It should evaporate in about two minutes. If the filter paper is little pinkish where the drop was put it’s the colour of MS (motor spirit) not any stain but any other evident spot is the sign of possible contamination or adulteration. It is mandatory that fuel station staffs should be able to provide you filter paper to run the check.
- Density check for petrol and diesel or other branded fuels: A 500 ml jar, a calibrated hydrometer, thermometer and ASTM (American society for testing of materials) conversion charts are required to run a density test. Fill about 3/4th of the jar with the product taken through a nozzle of the dispensing unit. Dip the thermometer and hydrometer in the jar and record the temperature and density.
- The actual density observed is then converted to the density at 15-degree centigrade with the help of conversion chart. This converted density is then compared with the reference density taken from the density register maintained by the station.
3. Quantity: It’s mandatory for each station to keep a calibrated 5-litre measure that should be stamped by weights and measures department every year to testify the quantity. The permissible tolerance of error due to any unforeseen malfunctioning of the dispensing unit is 25ml in 5 litres which has to be rectified immediately.
4. Other useful tips for customers is to make sure to take cash memo/invoice for every purchase and in case you come across any malpractice of the measures above (adulteration, short delivery and overcharging) you must immediately contact the company personnel whose name & contact number supposedly be displayed at the fuel stations.
5. Complaints: if your grievance is not addressed at the petrol pump or by the company personnel you can always choose to go to Centralised Public Grievances Redness & Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) (http://pgportal.gov.in/) which is a web-enabled grievances redressal system of the Department of Administrative Reform & Public Grievance (DARPG) (http://darpg.gov.in/) to enable public to submit their grievance on portal. Grievances submitted on the CPGRAMS portal are forwarded by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas (MOP & NG) to the Nodal officer for public.
We can also go on the links below and register our complaints.
Responsibility as a citizen
It is our responsibility to practice all the safety measure to ensure the safety of ourselves and others around while we are at the fuel station. Petroleum products are highly inflammable, slight carelessness may lead to a disaster.
- Switch off the engine before taking the delivery of fuel to avoid possible fire caused by spillage of fuel.
- Never smoke or light a match stick within the petrol pump premises.
- Never receive a call on your mobile phone while taking the fuel, rather switch off the phone.
- Always get off the vehicle while taking the delivery.
- It’s not wise to carry petrol or diesel in plastic or glass bottles.
The Logical Indian urges our community members to reach out to the station manager if any of the benefits is not granted to you.