A customer driving a BMW has made an elderly petrol assistant foot the bill for his $135 full tank of petrol after claiming that he had only asked for $10 worth of petrol.
On 15 April, Facebook user Willie Kok copied and posted a lengthy complaint that was originally made by Ms Kelly Yeo, appealing to Caltex to take action against a customer.
If you’re unable to read the text, you can read it here:
I earlier witnessed an incident at Caltex Tampines Ave 8 @2pm on 14 April and it filled me with such indignation that it prompted me to write this to you, hoping that you could help alleviate the financial obligation of your employee and implement appropriate measures to handle the incident as follows.
While processing payment at the Cashier counter, the customer (picture uploaded herewith) and driver of BMW vehicle SLT6883G, claimed that your pump attendant had mistakenly refilled a full tank of petrol costing about $135 for his vehicle instead of the $10 petrol that he had instructed. He refused to pay the full amount and insisted to pay only $10 for the full tank.
The pump attendant probably in his early 60s, was subsequently summoned to the Cashier counter to verify. He explained that he had heard that it was a full tank refill but the customer immediately rebutted it. What happened next astonished me. Instead of creating a scene by engaging in an argument with the customer, the elderly pump attendant calmly informed the Cashier to let the customer pay $10 and he would personally absorb the rest of the cost. As a result, the customer walked away smugly paying a mere $10 payment for a full tank of petrol for his BMW Series 5 vehicle.
Whilst I was impressed with the collected composure and professional customer service that both your Cashier and pump attendant had displayed throughout the incident, I am deeply disturbed that the customer had capitalized on the opportunity to make the elderly pump attendant pay for the supposedly oversight. The customer could have responded gentlemanly and be gracious to forgive by paying for the petrol since his vehicle would need to consume it anyway. Alternatively, he could have paid for a partial amount instead of making the elderly pump attendant bear the full $125. Unfortunately, this was not so.
I have done some online research and noticed that the remuneration of a pump attendant averages about $1600/mth in Singapore. $125 means a significant 8% of his meagre salary. Would Caltex consider waiving this amount or allowing the pump attendant to pay at cost?
Also, assuming it was entirely the pump attendant’s oversight, under such circumstances, perhaps the Cashier could have proposed to the customer to pay for a partial amount instead of allowing the elderly pump attendant bear full monetary responsibility?
Alternatively, for proof of evidence, perhaps Caltex can install CCTVs equipped with audio recording of drivers’ instructions to the pump attendants at each pump? What are Caltex’s existing guidelines and policies to handle such situation? I am concerned that if no effective standard operating systems are defined, such practices of having pump attendants to bear the price discrepancies can lead to abuse. Imagine if one uses this approach on each petrol station in Singapore every few days, it is tantamount to one walking away striking lottery frequently and the accumulated value will be very substantial!
Original post by Ms Kelly Yeo.
I copied the context incase her post got taken down. Please hunt this fucker down!”
In the post, which has since been shared over 20,000 times, Kelly detailed watching a BMW driver approach the cashier at the Caltex petrol station at Tampines Ave 8 on 14 April, to pay for his petrol.
When the cashier told him that the amount was $135 for a full tank of petrol, the driver argued that he had only asked the pump attendant for $10 worth of petrol.
Confused, the cashier called the elderly attendant, who appeared to be in his sixties, over to verify the story.
The pump attendant claimed that he had heard the driver ask for a full tank but the driver quickly countered him.
Then, instead of creating a scene, the elderly attendant calmly told the cashier to allow the customer to only pay $10. He told them that he would personally absorb the remaining $125.
The driver quickly agreed, paid $10 for a full tank of petrol and left.
In the post, Kelly reported that based on her research, an average petrol attendant earned about $1,600. The $125 would have been about 8% of his salary. Which is a lot for someone who earns that much especially in Singapore where everything is so expensive.
The post has since garnered over 5.3K comments with Netizens enraged at the driver. Many people are calling him a heartless con man while others are berating him for being able to drive such an expensive car but not being able to pay for his own petrol.
Some BMW drivers even came in to say that it was impossible to get anywhere on $10 worth of petrol as the consumption for a BMW is quite high.
Others claimed that he was a notorious cheat and had done this before.
Due to the overwhelming response, Caltex was alerted and they issued an official statement on their Facebook page this morning (15 April).
In the post, Caltex assured Singaporeans that the petrol attendant would not bear the cost of the petrol and that they were looking into the case.
They also asked that netizens refrain from berating the driver and attacking him.
The full statement can be read here:
If you’re unable to see the post, here’s what they said:
“Good afternoon Singapore, we are heartened by the solidarity and care shown towards our team at Caltex Tampines. Thank you for the kindness and concern.
We want to assure the community that our Caltex attendant did not bear any financial obligation from the events that occurred on April 14.
Do be assured that our station manager, together with the management team are looking into this issue now and an investigation is ongoing. For any enquiries on this issue, do get in touch with us via PM and we’ll get back to you.
We do encourage everyone to refrain from any personal or group responses towards the driver or those involved as our team is already looking into resolving this.
Thank you for your support.”
However, this incident has also opened a discussion into what exactly is being done to protect petrol attendants from lying customers.
In Kelly’s post, she implored Caltex and other petrol stations to look into ways that they can protect themselves and their customers. She suggested things like installing voice recorders at petrol kiosks or CCTV with audio recording so that there are no misunderstandings.
Putting the heartlessness of making an elderly attendant pay for your petrol aside, there is really no proof of how much petrol the driver asked for.
What if the BMW was a rental and he had actually only wanted to put in a minimal amount of petrol? Or what if he was severely short on money that day due to some unforeseen circumstances and only wanted the bare minimum to tide him over?
After all, mistakes do happen and things are not always as clear as they seem.
And when these things do happen, who absorbs the charges of this mistake?
What do you think? Who is really at fault here and is it right to condemn the driver without knowing exactly what happened and his circumstances at that time?