|An investigation by the Dac Lac Province Market Watch has discovered that as many as 60 per cent of the privately owned gas pumps are cheating customers. — Photo tainguyenmoitruong
HA NOI (VNS) — An investigation by the Dac Lac Province Market Watch has discovered that as many as 60 per cent of the privately owned gas pumps are cheating customers.
According to a report by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, the pumps are allegedly fixed with a kind of electric device that fraudulently miscounts the volume of gas pumped into the customers' vehicles.
This was announced on Thursday by Nguyen Dao Chi, deputy director of the Market Watch Department and head of the Inter-Agency Inspection Team against Smuggling, Commercial Fraud and Counterfeits in Dac Lac Province (also called Inter-agency Team 389).
Chi particularly stressed the craftiness of the wrong-doers that posed a lot of difficulties for the law enforcers in catching them in the act. "Usually, a fraudulent gas station will install that electronic device on one to two gas pumps. When discovered, they use the circuit-breaker of the gas pump to cut the electricity, thus deleting all data on the fraudulent device. If the law enforcers guard the gas pump's circuit breakers, the pump owners use the general circuit-breaker of the whole gas station. When law enforcers guard all circuit-breakers at the gas station, the owners use a remote control to lock the fraudulent device and delete all the data of the pump."
According to Chi, a common method of using this device is to fix a fraudulent ratio of gas that often shows 0.5 to 10 per cent less volume on the computer. This means for every 100 litres of gas, the customer will lose 0.5 litre to 10 litres.
"The customers cannot know that they are being cheated by looking at the gas pump's indicator," said Chi.
"When the volume required showed up to be different from what was shown on our meters, our team restrained the sellers, suspended their operations and measured the pumped-out volume as evidence to make records of the violations," he said, explaining about how his team dealt with the wrong-doers.
Chi's team – Team 389 – reported that as of January 21, 2015, which was more than one month since its establishment on December 17, 2014, they had handled 15 such cases, had imposed fines totalling more than VND500 million (US$25,000) and seized several objects as evidence.
The latest case was reported on January 19, when the team suddenly visited and checked the Truc Nghia gas station, which is owned by a private company of the same name in Cu Kpo commune, Krong Buk district. A fraudulent electronic device was found attached to the gas pump counter there. Consequently, the business licence of the gas station was suspended for three months and the gas pump confiscated. — VNS