Pemex almost the only gas station company in the area. It is the oil company belonging to the Mexican state, created in 1938 by nationalized oil. The good thing is that they have the same prices, so you don’t have to shop around for the best price. Prices are not displayed on posters, only at the pump. The bad thing is that there are a few scams that pump workers can do to unsuspecting strangers and locals. People are more aware then most of the scams are more expected. And now there are more and more new oil banners in the Riviera Maya, which is a good thing!
Here are the most common scams and how you can avoid them.
Do not reset the pump. If you request 400 pesos and the pump is not set to zero from the last transaction, for example, if it was 200 pesos, they will add 200 pesos and the pump will indicate 400 peso, but you only got 200 gas pesos. How to avoid this scam? When you arrive, notice the pump and watch that it is at zero. Be attentive and watch what it does outside.
Example; You pay with a 500 pesos bill and the attendant passes it very quickly through his hand and shows you a 50 pesos bill. It happens so quickly that at first you might think that you actually gave a 50 and you have to pay more. Both have the numbers five and zero and are similar in color. It’s a big scam, it’s a big profit so that’s the reason why it’s so popular. Even if you give a green ticket of 200 pesos some scrupulous attendants will pass in their hand for a blue of 20 pesos. How can you avoid this? You can tell how much you are giving to the attendant. If you can’t say it in Spanish, hold the money while looking at the attendant and keep your eyes on your money. Don’t leave without the right change. Or try to have the correct change to pay for your gas.
You arrive and you are in the car with friends or family, you ask for gas, you pay and leave without checking the pump to actually see if they have added the amount you asked for. If you asked for 400 pesos and then they added 300 pesos, you just got ripped off for 100 pesos. If you catch them doing this, they can pretend they don’t understand you and then add the other 100 missing pesos. How to avoid this scam? Be careful when pumping is done. All of these scams are made easier if you are distracted or in a hurry. Take your time, it can save you money.
Most pump scams happen in resorts where tourists go more often. Stations like on the edge of the highway in downtown Playa del Carmen. Don’t feel bad taking your time, even get out of the car and watch. Never pay before the gas is pumped out. Since you cannot pump your own gas, you should be aware of those who do.
The best advice is only to be attentive!
The thing that is not a scam is the additional service they offer. Most wash your windshield and offer to check your oil or fluids for you. It is a way for them to earn their tip honestly. Most of these attendants work hard and in the heat all day. Usually a tip for washing windows and good service is worth at least 10-15 pesos.