The Malawi Energy Regulatory Authority (MERA) has banned Murray Road Total Service Station in Lilongwe from doing business over allegations that its attendants were defrauding customers.
A letter from Managing Director Henry Kachaje said MERA received a complaint from a consumer who intended to buy fuel at K35,000, but received a value of K31,000.
“Our investigation confirmed that your attendant, Mr. Hendricks Chimoyo, overcharged customers and demanded tips to sell them fuel.
“This conduct undermines efforts to provide equitable fuel distribution and access to the public and is a serious violation of the Liquid Fuels and Gas Act.”
MERA therefore invokes Section 23 of the Liquid Fuels and Gas (Production and Supply) Act and Regulation 11 of the Liquid Fuels and Gas (Production and Supply) Regulations, which orders Murray Road Total Filling Station to suspend all sales with immediate effect from the date of the latter on Friday, October 14.
“The suspension will be in effect for 14 days from the date of this letter [and] in addition, note that the opening of the retail station will be subject to the satisfactory implementation of the measures taken to prevent the recurrence of malpractice.
Kachaje also ordered the management of the gas station to provide a report on the matter within 7 days also from the date of this letter – which ends on Friday, October 21.
In June last year, concerned petrol station owner Happy Jere advised motorists to be vigilant when refueling following an incident at Mount Meru near Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
It was reported that a lady had fueled up for 4000K and expected her gauge to be at quarter tank and felt cheated by the attendant and ended up causing a bang while trying to force the attendant to pay her back.
Jere had said that he has been in the fuel services business for 24 years, the first 8 years as a sales manager for BP Malawi responsible for managing petrol stations and the other 16 as a franchisee for Puma Malawi. ltd.
Writing on Facebook, Jere advised motorists that fuel gauges, especially digital gauges that use bar gauges – in his experience and opinion – behave which may not be consistent, like others can testify.
He stressed that customers should pay attention to what the attendant is doing when filling cars, saying that when directed to a pump, motorists should ensure they observe that the nozzle is placed correctly. in his crib before the attendant begins to serve. .
He added that if they find the nozzle either already in the hands of the attendant, or sitting in an abnormal position where it is resting, know that someone is about to rip them off.
“The pumps have been designed to automatically reset when the nozzle is lifted from its normal resting position. These pumps are calibrated by the Malawi Bureau of Standards and it is a compulsory exercise that they carry out every year.
“They put special seals on the fuel calibration system in the pump unit after the exercise that anyone tampering with the pump system must first break these seals to succeed in their scheme.
“They also do random spot checks to ensure operator compliance. As customers, you have the right to approach them at any time if you believe a particular gas station is behaving unethically and cheating on you.
“They will bring their measuring instruments to verify your assertions. MERA is also an interested party, you can approach to file your complaint.
It went further to school motorists that the pumping system is designed in such a way that the totalizers are forced to move in response to fuel flowing through the system – so it is not true to claim that a station- service can fill “air” into a customer’s tank.
“The only way to steal fuel from a customer is either to manipulate the calibration system or the behavior of the attendant as noted above.
“Finally, please be aware that while we as fuel retailers cannot guarantee the behavior of our staff in their daily conduct while carrying out their duties, you can be assured that we do not endorse or condone any unethical behavior on his part.
“It is therefore appreciated that customers report such issues so that we can address them and make your refueling experience more enjoyable,” Jere had said.
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