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Gas Station Tried to Rip Me Off

February 15th, 2007 at 02:11 pm

There are three gas stations that I pass on the way back home; since all are along the same street, they tend to have the same prices. However, the Mobil's in my area (and it seems throughout New Jersey) have been converted into a brand called Valero. To attract more business, they've been having discounted gas, sometimes 5-10 cents less than the competitors.

Recently, I went to fill up my gas tank, in anticipation of the snow storms. I chose the "new" Valero station since it was 5 cents cheaper than the other stations on the road. I paid by credit, since my card offers rewards for gas purchases, and the transaction went as usual. While waiting, I witnessed an exchange where a lady came up to the attendant and said, "Remember me?" The guy sort of grunted. The lady went on to say, "You double charged me last week for XX dollars, remember? I thought we'd cleared it up but I checked with my bank and now it turns out you've charged me AGAIN."

Though my ears caught the gist of their argument, I can't say it set off any warning bells. Maybe I am naive but I figure credit/debit mistakes happen, but the chances of them happening are pretty low, so this was just another isolated incident. Well, a few days ago, I went online to check my credit card balance and saw two identical charges for something weird called "Diamond Express" and both charges were for the amount of my last fillup. After I realized "Diamond" was in fact Valero/Mobil, I thought, how ironic.... I decided to go to the gas station the next day to try to resolve this.

I approached the attendant: "Excuse me, sir, remember me?" He sort of played dumb but when I shoved the receipt in his face, his expression changed into the "Oh, s***, not again" guilty look. We went in the office where he allegedly canceled the double transaction, but I was on pins and needles all day, waiting to rush home to check whether the cancelation came through on my credit card. It did. Whew.

Since gas stations are indepedently owned and operated, I'm not advocating to boycot ALL Mobil/Valero stations- just ranting against this particular station. I will encourage people to double check their gas receipts. I've noticed nowadays that you don't need to sign for many gas transactions which then causes many people to stop paying attention to the total price. Add to that the fact that drivers don't pump their own gas in NJ and you increase the chances someone won't pay attention to how much that gas fillup really cost.

Stay alert. Or do as my parents have always encouraged me to do, which is to pay for gas with $$cash.

7 Responses to “Gas Station Tried to Rip Me Off”

  1. campfrugal Says:

    You need to report it, so that someone can look into the way that gas station is doing business.

  2. tinapbeana Says:

    cash only for me, but i only fill up once a month or so.

    as for gas stations ripping you off: i had one change the price per gall from the time i pre-paid to the time i turned the pump on! WTF!

  3. ldyfaile Says:

    In Oregon you can't pump you're own gas either. The one thing that encouraged me to switch to cash was a good chunk of stations charge 10 cents more per gallon if you pay by Debit/Credit but the big display signs list the Cash price so if you aren't careful you don't notice.

    I have gotten one of the attendants trained to not top off my tank, I don't see the point in wasting gas and money when I always make sure I have exact change with me. But sometimes I don't catch them in time.

  4. living_in_oz Says:

    Cash only for me, but it's not foolproof eitherFrown You still have to make sure you get the correct change back.

  5. jersey jen Says:

    yeah, sometimes the gas station can be shady, especially in the dirty Jersey. it's like the only retail venue that you can't keep your eye on the credit card during the transaction. for some reason, i always pump at exxon stations.

    actually, which road are these stations on?

    i think that valero is the largest independent refinery, they bought diamond shamrock gas stations and converted them. exxon mobil allowed some of its gas station owners to switch brands so there won't be too much exxon or mobil competitions.

  6. LuckyRobin Says:

    Just for a different view point, our local convenience store just changed over from 76 to Valero and they had to completely change out their computerized system to do so, including the one for in store purchases, and the first few weeks they have had tons of trouble getting the bugs out of the system. They have signs posted flat out saying to double check your receipts against your bank statements and that any mistakes will be made good and to bear with them until they bang out the kinks.

    It is entirely possible your new Valero is having the same growing pains but not dealing with it in as forthright a manner as ours is.

  7. Snalax Says:

    I keep every receipt and enter it into Quicken every night. So when I get my credit card statement, I always see the gas station double charging me all the time. Solution - I stop buying gas from these crooks as the owner is hoping people don't check.

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