Fraud at gas stations: how to identify unnecessary service and avoid scams | Rio Grande do Sul

Mechanical engineer Anderson de Paulo, from PUCRS Polytechnic School, advises consumers to only use three services at the gas station: fuel the vehicle, inflate the tires, and replenish the windshield wiper fluid.

“All vehicle maintenance must be carried out by a mechanic you trust or who has references. The gas station is not recommended because the professionals are not qualified, they are not mechanics, they are not lubricant technicians. They are there to solve some problems. if in doubt, call the mechanic or look at the dashboard if you have any warnings of something urgent and emerging,” he says.

Gas stations in Rio Grande do Sul are investigated by the Civil Police on the suspicion of coupting drivers who are going to fill up on the spot — Photo: Reproduction/RBS TV

De Paulo points out that, in most cases, victims of embezzlement are in a hurry or are taken by surprise with the indication of some irregularity in the vehicle that they are not aware of. Therefore, he reaffirms the importance of following the revisions scheduled by the dealerships or following the instructions of a professional mechanic.

“Automotive maintenance is necessary. If I don’t do it, I’ll have a higher expense. But the maintenance has to be preventive. If you take it to the mechanic every 5,000 km or 10,000 km, you don’t have to open the hood at the gas station”, highlights.

Then the engineer gives tips on what to do and what NOT to do when services are offered at these locations.

Mechanical engineer gives tips to avoid falling into blows at gas stations

  • Tire calibration: every week or 15 days, with the tire cold;
  • Supply: you can fill up with extra alcohol, in the case of flex-fuel vehicles, or with added gasoline, as long as the price is within that practiced by the market. If it is much cheaper, an expert suggests being suspicious;
  • Windshield Wiper: replenish water as needed.
  • Checking oil with a hot engine: level must be observed with the vehicle with a cold engine, as the oil is scattered. Ideal, according to a specialist, is to keep the same brand and characteristic indicated in the vehicle manual;
  • Change lubricant brand and characteristics: vehicles already leave the factory with all lubricating oils, therefore, no additive is needed. Tip is to deny any extra product without professional guidance;
  • Maintenance in a hurry: the comparison of prices and services is harmed if something more complex is done at the gas station. The suggestion is to ask a mechanic for guidance by phone and keep the service stub used to be able to charge later.

Car undergoing maintenance at a gas station in RS — Photo: Reproduction/RBS TV

According to events revealed by Fantástico, establishments charged for services not requested by customers. One of the deceived people paid BRL 1,300 for products that it did not even authorizewith prices above those practiced by the market.

The gas station in question is in Cachoeirinha, in the Metropolitan Region of Porto Alegre. The unit is owned by Fabrício Corrêa Barros, a businessman who was contacted by RBS TVsaid that he was traveling and that he could not speak.

Ipiranga, the fuel distribution network that has its brand at the businessman’s gas stations, says that “it will monitor the case and also clarifies that it values ​​integrity and transparency in the relationship with its consumers”. Read the note below.

The target post of Civil Police investigations already has a history of complaints. One of the first complaints was in 2018 when a journalist paid BRL 350 for products she did not order. “I was scared because I thought it was a lot of money. I left that post, went to another post and saw that the additive they had charged me was absurd. The price was R$ 150”, says Civa Silveira.

The establishment came to be closed by Proconbut later reopened, according to the director of the agency, Wambert Di Lorenzo, because the victims were compensated.

“He was interdicted until he returned the victims double. After he returned all the victims, then we lifted the interdiction”, he says.

The businessman has already been the target of lawsuits for similar cases. After losing cases, he would have perfected the technique for making the charges: require the signature of customers on invoices.

A gas station attendant who no longer works for the company says that employees were obliged to act this way.

‘Syringe blow’ is used to offer unnecessary services to gas station customers in RS – Photo: Reproduction / RBS TV

One of the techniques to deceive customers that would be applied at gas stations is the so-called “syringe blow” or “smoke blow”. The attendants would drip oil on the engine, using a syringe. With the heat, the oil starts to burn and smoke.

“The boy said ‘get out of the car, it’s on fire, smoke is coming out’. I ran away”, recalls journalist Civa Silveira, who registered a police report in 2018.

According to the former gas station attendant, former colleagues celebrated the calls made in an online group. Employees shared a sales spreadsheet with information on who else had sold the additive. “Known” customers of the gas station attendants were saved from the coup — which was not the case for José Silva.

“The smoke was really coming out. Then he says to me ‘you pull over the ramp there and I’ll help you. Do you want help?’

Ipiranga informs that the operation of the service stations is carried out through resellers, independent legal entities. The company will monitor the case and also clarifies that it values ​​integrity and transparency in the relationship with its consumers, respecting all rights and current legislation to guarantee satisfaction and excellence in service.

Ipiranga carries out training actions, as well as incentives for the adoption of good business practices and customer service, periodically throughout its network of Dealers. The company follows compliance rules and promotes anti-corruption and integrity training, which permeate all its businesses. Consumers can get in touch with questions or complaints through the service channels at 3003-3451 (Capitals and Metropolitan Regions) and 0800 720 5356 (Other Regions), in addition to accessing the company’s website.