By Adewale Sanyaolu
Consumers of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), popularly called petrol have raised the alarm over a new trend adopted by fuel retailers to cheat consumers.
The motorists in separate interview alleged that most filling stations have tampered with their meters in a bid to exploit and rip-off consumers.
According to them, the bad business practice which is not new in the downstream sector appears to have grown worse in the face of the current fuel scarcity.
They alleged that filling stations operated by some major oil marketers have joined in this bad business practice, thus forcing consumers to pay more for the quantity of fuel bought.
A consumer who identified himself as Shile Giwa, said a filling station operated by a major marketer on Charity Road in Abule Egba area in Lagos is known to be notorious for the dubious act of cheating consumers.
Narrating his ordeal, Giwa said he was at the filling on Tuesday morning to fill his 30 litre jerrycan with petrol but that to his surprise, the price on the dispensing machine read N6,000 and this he said triggered an argument.
According to him, he said the same Jerrycan usually cost him N5,100 in some other filling stations selling at the same rate of N170 per litre.
Another consumer, Tinuade Oyekale, said the experience of Giwa has been rampant lately as filling stations deceive consumers that they are selling at N170 per litre as displayed on their dispensing machine but in actually fact, the rate is N200 per litre.
‘‘I am not against filling stations selling above the approved retail price because we all know what they are going through at the depot. But let them change their meter price to their actually selling price instead of deceiving members of the public.
Oyekale said the she has been a victim of such bad business practice on several occasions citing filling stations operated by some major marketers; most especially the ones by independent marketers are the major culprits.
She said her advice was for consumers to patronize major brands, especially filling stations operated by NNPCL since major marketers which used to be the pride of consumers have joined those inflicting pains on Nigerians.
In a related development, the National Operations Controller of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Mr. Mike Osatuyi, has warned that the fuel scarcity across major parts of the country might linger into the New Year and beyond if urgent steps were not taken by the relevant authorities to address the supply hicupp.
Osatuyi in a telephone interview said in a situation where demand outweighs supply, such situation was expected.
He reiterated that the only solution to the current crisis was for the Federal Government to deregulate the sector to enable more players to come into the industry.