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Petrol station scam

Shropshire
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9 posts
138 reviews
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Petrol station scam

I first of all want to say that as a former resident in Oman and having made about 10 visits to the country since we left we have never experienced anything like this before. However, we would like to share this event so that others can beware.

On our recent holiday in Oman, March 2013, we drove into a petrol station in Sidab to fill up our car. One attendant was filling up a 4WD, the other one was doing nothing. This one waved to us to go to the man at the 4WD which we did. He filled our car up and when my husband went to pay him he was surprised to see that we were being charged for 45 litres of petrol. The car tank was almost half full and we were sure that this was more than it was possible to put in. We always keep a daily record of our distances and amounts paid so we had a good idea of how much it should have been. The attendants' command of English was not sufficient for us to argue our case but we made it clear that we believed this was not the correct amount, however we had no choice but to pay up. We realised after what had happened. The guy had not returned the pipe into the pump and so it had just continued on after the previous customer, meaning that we were being charged again for his petrol as well as our own - so a little profit on the side for the attendants. We did complain to the oil company but disappointingly did not receive any response from them. Commercial vehicles, including car hire, have different number plates from privately owned vehicles so it is obvious as you approach that you are in a hired car and probably a tourist. From the way these guys operated I do not believe this was the first time they had done it, but I stress we have never before experienced any deceit at a petrol pump, and indeed the men are usually extremely helpful and honest. An unfortunate experience leaving a nasty feeling.

Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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1. Re: Petrol station scam

It is a common World wide scam and the same happened to me on the A6 in France some years ago.

Shropshire
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9 posts
138 reviews
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2. Re: Petrol station scam

OK. We've certainly never come across it before and did not expect anything like that in Oman. It probably cost you a lot more in France as petrol is very cheap in Oman.

mct
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39 posts
31 reviews
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3. Re: Petrol station scam

wow never heard of that before..hope you never experience this again and welcome back to Oman anytime

Muscat, Oman
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4. Re: Petrol station scam

That particular petrol station is well known for this scam - for avoidance of doubt it is the Oman OIl petrol station in Sidab near the Marina. However I have never come across it anywhere else in Oman so I think it s one or two persons who work there who are pulling the scam - hopefully they will get their just deserts and a stay in the Samail Hilton before too long. Simply watch the meter on the pump and offer the correct money - if they argue tell them to call the ROP. 99%+ of the staff at petrol stations are super honest though so dont let these invertibrates colour your view of the place.

Shropshire
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9 posts
138 reviews
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5. Re: Petrol station scam

Yes, it is the Oman Oil service station at Sidab near the Marina. We did eventually get a response from the company who said they would contact the franchise holders. I think, on our next trip, we just won't be buying petrol there but it would be good if they could be stopped from their dishonest practices. It certainly won't stop us visiting the country but will just be more aware. Thanks.

Dubai, United Arab...
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for Dubai
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6. Re: Petrol station scam

A similar situation happened to me at an Emarat Petrol Pump in Dubai, but it was easy to spot. Turned out the chap forgot to switch back to zero, and was a genuine error. The pump supervisor went back to their records and reimbursed the difference to me on the spot. However it is surprising to see some pump in Oman does this in a planned manner. Are you sure?

Shropshire
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9 posts
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7. Re: Petrol station scam

I would like to think this was a mistake but am 99% sure it wasn't. As I said in my original message, one guy was doing nothing but waved to us to go to the one who was serving another customer so then it was easy for him just to put the pipe in our car without zero-ing it. Also, he was at the rear pump and my husband drove to the front one but he knocked on the car and signalled to us to reverse to the other one. He could just have easily served us from that pump unless he was up to something tricky, which, of course, we didn't suspect. There was no-one there (i.e. supervisor) for us to appeal to - just these two guys who spoke very little English, or certainly weren't admitting to understanding what we were saying.

Muscat Governorate...
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for Muscat Governorate, Oman
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659 posts
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8. Re: Petrol station scam

You will find the police in Oman to be a reasonable bunch. One thing you could do is take your mobile and snap a couple of photographs of the meter with the ridiculous reading, the photo of the guy filling the car and his accomplice, and threaten to go to the police. I am 95% sure that the problem would have been resolved on the spot without actually resorting to the police. This is actually the realm of the consumer protection agency and not the police, but the threat will usually work. Even if you had to resort to the police, you will find that they will be on your side.

I do understand your frustration and that being scammed ends up slightly ruining your holiday, but 45 liters of petrol in Oman costs 5 omani rials, or 8.5 british pounds, or 13 USD. You probably got at least half of that amount in petrol, so you were scammed out of 4 pounds!! I suggest that you file this under lessons learnt and move on with your life. I personally do the same when I am on holiday, I would not let a small time scammer ruin my holiday for me.

Thanks for the heads up to everyone else, you highlighted the issue and people will be careful so that they are not scammed.

Shropshire
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9 posts
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9. Re: Petrol station scam

You are quite right about the amount - a very small sum of money, and much better than it happening in Europe. I just wanted to highlight the incident as it is so out of the ordinary in Oman and was totally unexpected. It did not ruin our holiday. We love visiting Oman, it still feels like home to us and we will be back.

Warks.England
Destination Expert
for Myanmar, Yangon (Rangoon), Ngapali, Tossa de Mar
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10. Re: Petrol station scam

From my post no.1.

The scam in France cost me €55, a real bummer, but even if I was scammed in Oman for OMR5 I would still be aggrieved because it it is so unexpected in somewhere like Oman.

SS