Gas pump errors shortchanging Houston area customers

May 28, 2012 4:21:01 PM PDT
Gas prices are falling, but at $3.50 a gallon or more, every drop counts. However, dozens of service stations across our area may be shortchanging customers every day.

The State of Texas routinely checks gas pumps in the state and inspectors found two big problems that keep happening: before you pump the counter skips ahead past zero and pumps not giving you the correct amount.

Gas pump errors are not something Jay Bahtty has ever considered.

"I probably would not even know, because I do not print out the gas receipts so if I got shortchanged I probably would not even know," Bahtty said.

It turns out the State of Texas recently found more than 130 pumps at more than 60 gas stations that are having problems in Harris County and surrounding counties.

"It makes me mad. I don't know how many times I have been shortchanged. I guess I will watch it more closely from now on," said Bahtty.

The report shows several common problems. Gas pumps that do not hold zero when you start filling up and pumps that do not dispense the amount of gas you have paid for. It's something that is catching many drivers off guard.

"It would surprise me," said Joel Pelanne.

The state's findings are available online and show this gas station on Washington St. had four pumps with errors in March, but employees say the devices are now fixed.

In April, the state found six pumps having problems at this Love's Travel Stop on I-45. Workers here say the pumps have since been corrected.

And just days ago the state found two pumps at this Texaco on Fannin did not hold zero.

"We are going to get the meters changed, because unless you change those meters, the calibration will not be the right amount," said station owner Sunny Lalani.

Drivers can report gas pump problems to the state Department of Agriculture as these stickers detail, but we found few drivers have even noticed the information.

"I have never done that," said Bahtty.

The report from the State of Texas is for March through May and the stations we spoke with all said they fixed the problems once the state pointed it out.

So just how long does it take stations to get the pumps fixed? They get fixed very quickly. If the pump cannot be repaired, it can not be used to sell gas.

Load Comments