Scams usual on fuel stations of SE Asia
South East Asia is region of cash, not credit cards. At the fuel stations you will need to pay by cash so I will tell you some most usual scams the workers try to on tourists.
1. Counter does not reset
First often scam on tourist is that the counter does not reset. The car or motorbike in front of you filled the tank, paid and left. You approach and the worker fills your tank adding your fuel to the amount of the car before you. You end by paying for your fuel and as well for the fuel of somebody else.
How to avoid? Check if the counter resets when the worker starts to fill your car or motorcycle.
2. Switch to different final price
This happened to us in Vang Vieng, Laos. I checked if the counter is reset before filling the tank and I knew it will fit some 2.5 liters of fuel into the tank. That should be approximately 25 000 kips. But after finishing the filling, the pump guy pressed some hidden button and the price on the display in a second changed to 50 000 kips. We couldn’t believe our eyes – he did it in front of us while we were staring at the display. And the he argued it is 50 000 kips as we can see at the display. After some “explanation in higher voice” we agreed on 25 000 kips, which was more-less the amount we should pay. An then the next scam started …
Solution: Keep your attention all the time on.
3. Wrong amount of money returned as a change
This was the continuation of the scam 2. I paid for 25 000 kips with 50 000 kips bill. The pump man returned me only 15 000 kips. I said, I want 10 000 kips more as a return, but he stared at me with the face “I don’t have an idea what are you talking about”. In that time I was really angry.
Solution: Check your money every time somebody returns you the change.
BTW: this same scam happened several times to us as well in Thailand in the shops of 7eleven, so be careful …
4. Rounding the numbers
This is the story from all Asia around. Let’s say you want full tank in Laos. In Laos the smallest bill is 1000 kips. So you want full tank and the pump guy is filling your tank and decides it is “full enough” when reaching the amount of 24 100 kips. Obviously, he can give you more fuel to round it to 25 000 kips, but he doesn’t do it. Instead he ask you to pay 25 000 kips, because it is above 24 000 kips and the smallest banknote is 1000 kips. So you finish with paying for this scam.
Well, you say, 900 kips is only few cents. Yes, it is, but it is not about the money – it is about the principle of scams. And this is very obvious cheating.
How to avoid: If you cannot manage to pay the amount rounded down (in my case 24 000 kips) then ask the guy to fill it till reaching rounded amount (in my case 25 000 kips).
Do you know more scams?
If you know about any other scams, let us know – we will be happy to add it with your credits.