Opinion – Maria Inês Dolci: How to avoid the additive scam at the gas station

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Opinion – Maria Inês Dolci: How to avoid the additive scam at the gas station

A trusted mechanic or gas station attendant can make a difference in the gas station bill, even if it is inevitably painful, due to the stratospheric prices of gasoline, alcohol and diesel. This trusted professional will not push us motor oil or unnecessary additives. Much less will it take advantage of the consumer’s lack of knowledge to multiply the value of the supply.

In Rio Grande do Sul, Decon (Police Office for the Protection of Consumer Rights) is investigating a gas station for charging for services not requested by the customer. A retiree, who intended to put R$50 worth of gasoline in the vehicle’s tank, had to pay R$1,300 in expenses.

He was alerted about an engine oil problem. After the exchange, there were two notes, one of them for R$1,000 in additives that he did not ask for. Although this occurred in the Greater Porto Alegre region, it is not a regional coup.

The suggestion is to supply, whenever possible, in the same place, where there is no record of fraud against customers – and with competitive prices, obviously. The ideal is to change the oil and other items —such as the cooling system, air filter, fuel filter, brake fluid— in the same workshop, which will have to be highly recommended.

It is not about generalizing or attacking a professional category as correct as the others. But to avoid unnecessary risks, as most of us do not know automotive mechanics to guarantee, for example, that it is necessary or not to change the engine oil.

When this service is performed, the service station or workshop will have to provide a sticker with the mileage of the current exchange and the one indicated for the next one.

Why are there these cases of bad faith against the consumer? It could be guidance from superiors or sales targets. In addition, there are attendants who earn commissions from additive and lubricant manufacturers.

There is nothing wrong, in principle, with commissioning sales. But this practice cannot generate pressure, much less a blow against people, taking advantage of their lack of knowledge about automotive mechanics.

Another tip: consult the dealership of the brand of your vehicle to find out which parts of the car you need to add additives to, and how often this should be done.

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