These are some who have realized the bluff, though may not have taken the outlet to task - but there are many others who aren't aware of such nefarious deeds. Hence the possibility of them getting duped is even more likely, and often repeatedly.
So as customers, how can we ensure we aren't at the receiving end of this trickery? What are the precautions that need to be taken and how do we get our grievances addressed? Here's more-
* Keep a keen eye on YOUR fuel pump - especially in the beginning and just before the end of the fill. Avoid all distractions - it's indeed a blessing that cell phones aren't allowed in fuel stations. Other distractions like your car stereo or balancing your 2-wheeler can be avoided too.
* Make sure the fuel attendant has heard the amount right. To be doubly sure, ask the attendant to repeat, just as you in restaurants, though this should be a lot easier for him.
* Pay the amount ONLY AFTER the filling is complete. In most cases, either due to our overzealousness or simply being told by the attendant, we often end-up fiddling our pockets or wallets, in the process neglecting the fill.
* Keep track of your fuel indicator during every refill, for this reading can be good source of verification. If your 2-wheeler fuel indicator takes that little longer to reflect, do wait by the side until it shows up. You really wouldn't want to find out being duped in the middle of traffic.
* Also, it's a misplaced notion that meters in fuel pumps are tamper-proof. While meter tampering is a grave issue, it can only be checked by specialists. However, this can be checked by informing the concerned fuel company.
In spite of these precautions, if you still get duped, it's best to file a complaint. Take my word, the process isn't as cumbersome as one may imagine, in fact it is a lot more effective than creating a ruckus at the petrol station.
You can share your complaint at the 'Indian Consumer Complaints Forum' or even better - register it directly with the respective fuel company. Their websites have contact details of various regional offices that you can directly walk-in to as well as an online complaint form and even a toll-free number.
And if you're wondering if they do ever respond, well, in our case the field-officer from one of the regional offices promptly called to enquire, and ensured that the grievance was addressed. Nevertheless, we could have avoided all this, had we practiced what we just preached :)