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UPDATED: King Gas: Saving You Money or Scamming You?

Woburn Police are investigating several complaints regarding the discount gas station.

 

UPDATE: Monday, April 23, 5:48 p.m.—

Jacqueline Eskanian tells Woburn Patch that she operates the two King Gas stations on Main Street in Woburn through a legal entity that is not King Petroleum, Inc.

In an email to Woburn Patch, Eskanian said her company running the Main Street stations “sells a good product and does not scam its customers.”

 

Thursday, April 19, 5:48 a.m.—

You leave your house and realize your car's gas gauge is on "E." You have $20 in your wallet and think to yourself, 'I'll pick up $20 now and fill my tank later.' But when you pull into the gas station, the attendant gives you $40 instead of the $20 you requested. And then demands payment. 

Has this happened to you?

 

It's happening to many people at the King Petroleum gas stations in Woburn. And the has taken notice.

In the last month, Woburn Police officers have been called to King Gas five times, including yesterday. In each instance, there was a discrepancy in how much gas was asked for, and how much gas was given to the customer. In each instance, the customer was a woman.

King Petroleum, which has gas stations in Woburn, Malden, Medford and Dedham, is a registered "domestic for-profit corporation" with headquarters at 84 Myopia Road in Winchester. Jacqueline Eskanian took over the business from her father, Tony, in 2007.

The gas stations often boast the lowest prices in the community, no matter where they are, and only take cash to keep prices lower.

But police reports involving payment problems between King Gas attendants and customers date back to April of 2011 on Woburn Patch and have increased more frequently in 2012.

And that's not the only place that complaints have surfaced.

The Better Business Bureau reports King Gas is not accredited with the BBB. The consumer advocate organization has closed one complaint regarding King Petroleum in the last three years after the BBB "did not receive a response from [the] business."

One woman took her complaint to the Internet, posting a review on popular rating site Yelp. The Somerville woman posted on Oct. 9, 2011 that a Woburn King Gas employee "frightened" her when he allegedly demanded she pay $37 for gasoline pumped into her car after she asked for $20.

"I apologized and said I had asked for $20 and he told me to give him the rest [of the money]," the woman wrote. "I told him that is all I had in cash, but I would count out the change I had in my ashtray and he was welcome to that. He called me a liar, a cheat, a thief."

The Yelp review adds that said the man allegedly said, "Get out of the station and never come back."

 

A history of problems

It was in 2007 that State Attorney General Martha Coakley fined the Eskanians $600,000 for failure to clean up gas spills and other products at four gas stations in Malden and Medford.  

As reported by InsideMedford.com, the fine stemmed from a 2004 lawsuit claiming that King Petroleum was not following the Superfund Law procedures for cleaning up hazardous materials. 

The Eskanians appealed the 2007 ruling the following year, saying they were not previously notified of the violation and that Tony Eskanian was not an operator of the business, but an "an employee."

However, the appeals court upheld the original judgment in July, 2009.

The city of Medford continued to have problems with King Gas in 2010, when it shut down three gas stations and revoked its business permit. According to a report by Boston.com, the council decided to padlock the King gas pumps saying the business owed over $100,000 in unpaid taxes and $13,000 in fines and fees. The Medford gas stations were reopened within a month after King Gas obtained a Superior Court injunction.

 

The investigation continues

Woburn Police detectives have spoken to the Eskanians regarding the problems reported at the Main Street stations.

Although the reports are technically civil complaints—a discrepancy between a business owner and a customer—detectives are continuing their investigation.

 

Police Reports Involving King Gas

As reported by Woburn Patch.

At 5:35 p.m., police responded to King Gas on Main Street for a dispute over payment. 

At 6:23 p.m., police were dispatched to the Main Street King Gas station for a dispute between an employee and a customer. According to police, a customer reported paying for $20 in gas, but his gas gauge showed that no gas was pumped. Police spoke to the employee, who said that the customer would have to speak to the manager on Wednesday. 

At 10:34 a.m., a Burlington man reported being overcharged for gasoline at King Gas on Main Street. According to the man, the pump malfunctioned and he told the attendant, but the employee did not believe him. Police said, the man told the attendant that his tank was not full, even though the pump said it was. Police said, the man then pulled into another gas station and was able to fill his tank.

At 2 p.m., a North Reading woman reported purchasing $20 in gas from King Petroleum on Main Street. According to police, the woman said she quickly ran out of gas and did not believe that she was given the $20 in gasoline from the attendant.

At 1:33 p.m., a Quincy man reported going to King Gas on Aug. 12 and asking for a fill-up of diesel. The man told police he was given gasoline and his van would not start. After speaking to King Gas employees, the man left his car to be repaired at the gas station’s cost. When the man picked up the vehicle, he told police that there was a fresh dent on the van.  

At 6:22 p.m., police were dispatched to King Gas for a report of a civil dispute over money and a credit card machine.

At 5:12 p.m., an elderly Winchester woman called police after a King Petroleum employee told her that it was difficult to pump $10 worth of fuel and she should buy $20. Police will speak to the owner of the gas station.

At 5:22 p.m., a Boston woman reported going to King Gas on Main Street and requesting $50 in gasoline from the attendant. According to the woman, the attendant pumped $62 in gas and demanded payment. The woman told the attendant she would come back tomorrow to pay the extra $12, but reported the incident to police because she did not request the extra $12.

At 5:30 p.m., police received a report from a King Gas attendant who said a woman drove off without paying for gas. An officer spoke to the woman who said she asked for $10 and received $30 of gas. She was unable to pay for the entire order and only paid $10. The woman agreed to return to the gas station and pay for the rest of the gas.  

At 5:02 p.m., a Woburn woman reported she went to King Gas on Main Street and asked for $30 in gasoline. After paying for the gas and returning home, the woman told police she realized her gas gauge had not moved. The woman returned to King Gas, according to police, and confronted the attendant, who said that she would have to speak to the manager. Police reported this is one of several complaints against the gas station.

At 4:54 p.m., police were dispatched to the King Gas station. According to police, a woman requested $40 in gasoline from the attendant, but was given $61. The attendant asked the woman for the money, which she did not have. Police told the attendant he could pursue the matter in Woburn District Court.

Annemarie April 25, 2012 at 04:44 PM
WOBURN daily times: "According to police reports, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office is investigating the business, while a local attorney is readying to file a class action suit against the business owners."
Joseph Crowley April 25, 2012 at 06:21 PM
Curious, why would any lawyer file any class action suit against complaints? Does not make sense and judge will throw it out right away.
Jay Boyer April 25, 2012 at 06:35 PM
David. I was being sarcastic since you insinuate it is a select few people filing the same reports to get this place shut down. I am not calling for their shut down. If you have followed my comments you will see I've said go or don't go. I don't care where you get your gas, but it is wrong for a few people posting here to assume that everyone has hac the same positive experience you have had, but if these allegations are true they merit some authoritative response as some ( maybe not you or Joe or others with positive responses here) people have been unfairly or deceptively treated at what seems to be a growing rate.
Jay Boyer April 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Joseph, don't assume that because you've had a good experience there that all have and since your calling our all the negative people. The same people are posting over and over about their positive experiences so be fair when you call out the same people as it is the same from both sides.
Joseph Crowley April 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
David, again I agree with you. Kings forces all the nearby gas stations to lower there prices. If they didn't exist then other gas stations have nothing to compete for. I read the article in yesterdays Daily Times. I agree with what Missy said- "this is going to result in numerous people complaining now because of their skewed perceptions." Daily Times reports, "After leaving Kings a Waltham Man approaches officer Richard at a construction detail near the south end station." This guy says that he "ALLEGES'' he did not get what he asked for. Did this guy not look at the pump before he left Kings? This is my perception. Consumer asks for 20$ and leaves Kings looking at the pump, verifying he received 20$. Consumer wouldn't have left Kings if he didn't look at the pump. Then miles down the road he notices his gauge is down. $20 can not buy any car a half way tank. Prices are $3.77. Also, I found it kind of skeptical that a second man randomly walks up to the officer and says that the same thing happened to his son. My question, why didnt his son file a police report? Something fishy is going on here and it looks like somebody is out to get these owners. Again, they are the cheapest in Woburn im sure competing gas stations want them out. If you don't like them then PLAIN AND SIMPLE GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND PAY MORE FOR YOUR GAS. DONT LET US CONSUMERS GET HURT BY TAKING THIS BUSINESS OUT OF OUR TOWN. I SUPPORT KINGS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A LOYAL CUSTOMER.
Joseph Crowley April 25, 2012 at 06:38 PM
David, again I agree with you. Kings forces all the nearby gas stations to lower there prices. If they didn't exist then other gas stations have nothing to compete for. I read the article in yesterdays Daily Times. I agree with what Missy said- "this is going to result in numerous people complaining now because of their skewed perceptions." Daily Times reports, "After leaving Kings a Waltham Man approaches officer Richard at a construction detail near the south end station." This guy says that he "ALLEGES'' he did not get what he asked for. Did this guy not look at the pump before he left Kings? This is my perception. Consumer asks for 20$ and leaves Kings looking at the pump, verifying he received 20$. Consumer wouldn't have left Kings if he didn't look at the pump. Then miles down the road he notices his gauge is down. $20 can not buy any car a half way tank. Prices are $3.77. Also, I found it kind of skeptical that a second man randomly walks up to the officer and says that the same thing happened to his son. My question, why didnt his son file a police report? Something fishy is going on here and it looks like somebody is out to get these owners. Again, they are the cheapest in Woburn im sure competing gas stations want them out. If you don't like them then PLAIN AND SIMPLE GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND PAY MORE FOR YOUR GAS. DONT LET US CONSUMERS GET HURT BY TAKING THIS BUSINESS OUT OF OUR TOWN. I SUPPORT KINGS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A LOYAL CUSTOMER.
Joseph Crowley April 25, 2012 at 06:39 PM
David, again I agree with you. Kings forces all the nearby gas stations to lower there prices. If they didn't exist then other gas stations have nothing to compete for. I read the article in yesterdays Daily Times. I agree with what Missy said- "this is going to result in numerous people complaining now because of their skewed perceptions." Daily Times reports, "After leaving Kings a Waltham Man approaches officer Richard at a construction detail near the south end station." This guy says that he "ALLEGES'' he did not get what he asked for. Did this guy not look at the pump before he left Kings? This is my perception. Consumer asks for 20$ and leaves Kings looking at the pump, verifying he received 20$. Consumer wouldn't have left Kings if he didn't look at the pump. Then miles down the road he notices his gauge is down. $20 can not buy any car a half way tank. Prices are $3.77. Also, I found it kind of skeptical that a second man randomly walks up to the officer and says that the same thing happened to his son. My question, why didnt his son file a police report? Something fishy is going on here and it looks like somebody is out to get these owners. Again, they are the cheapest in Woburn im sure competing gas stations want them out. If you don't like them then PLAIN AND SIMPLE GO SOMEWHERE ELSE AND PAY MORE FOR YOUR GAS. DONT LET US CONSUMERS GET HURT BY TAKING THIS BUSINESS OUT OF OUR TOWN. I SUPPORT KINGS AND WILL CONTINUE TO BE A LOYAL CUSTOMER.
David Chesler April 25, 2012 at 07:28 PM
Obviously something is going on that has led people complain. I believe that people have complained. On this board I've seen one actual complaint, from Shawn, over King in Dedham (and he doesn't say what happened.) The rest have been reports about reports. On the other hand there are about half a dozen people (with different writing styles, if you're afraid they're all pseudos) here who have said they have never had a negative experience in years of going there. We can't understand why they'd pick random customers, or why we've never had it happen. Do they pretend-pump only the inattentive people? I'd like to hear from someone it happened to, The expected gain from over-pumping makes that story not make sense either. I believe the pumps are accurate because my MPG is the same. If the complaint were that they water down their gas, or it doesn't have the same additives as some other station, or "I gave him two twenties to pay for $25 of gas and he said I'd given him two singles" that would at least make sense. (And if the complaint was "They don't take credit cards, they don't have a squeegee or an air pump, they take too long because there is one attendant for all the pumps, they won't walk around to the driver said, or it's like dealing with the Soup Nazi" I'd agree -- a lot of us don't mind not paying for what we're not getting.)
David Chesler April 26, 2012 at 06:10 PM
Not sure what the attendant in the South End giving a false name to the cops has to do with whether the station at Davis St is scamming customers. I'd like to know more about the police reports, like what AG Coakley is investigating them for, or who the class is and what their complaint is, and what their claimed damages are. Even the name of the attorney would be useful, or does the police report only say "a local attorney"? Even those who don't buy from King benefit when it's operating, because they get lower prices than they would otherwise at the other nearby stations, so it is in their interest for King to keep operating.
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 01:13 AM
CHECK OUT THIS LINK... THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED HERE IN WOBURN IS HAPPENING AT OTHER STATIONS. CONSUMERS ARE BLAMING HIGH GAS PRICES ON GAS STATIONS. SEEMS LIKE ITS THE NEW TREND http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/12007317716731/high-gas-prices-lead-to-brockton-driver-s-outburst/
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 01:14 AM
CHECK OUT THIS LINK... THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED HERE IN WOBURN IS HAPPENING AT OTHER STATIONS. CONSUMERS ARE BLAMING HIGH GAS PRICES ON GAS STATIONS. SEEMS LIKE ITS THE NEW TREND http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/12007317716731/high-gas-prices-lead-to-brockton-driver-s-outburst/
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 01:15 AM
CHECK OUT THIS LINK... THE SAME THING THAT HAPPENED HERE IN WOBURN IS HAPPENING AT OTHER STATIONS. CONSUMERS ARE BLAMING HIGH GAS PRICES ON GAS STATIONS. SEEMS LIKE ITS THE NEW TREND http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/12007317716731/high-gas-prices-lead-to-brockton-driver-s-outburst/
Mary J. Sawyer April 27, 2012 at 01:08 PM
@ Soxfan, first off - the weirdo in your story pumped his OWN gas; it wasn't pumped by a gas attendant. Secondly, when the police were called, they actually did the math on the price he paid and how much gas was put in - all of which added up correctly so no police report was filed. Completely different scenarios that what's going on at KIngs.
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 01:44 PM
@ Mary J. Sawyer, The news reports, “He was mad at the fact that I guess he felt he paid too much for gas,” the clerk said. “And he got $25 dollars worth, and he said he wanted his money back. I said, ‘You're not getting your money back.’”he man was so irate he had another customer call the cops, saying the gas station ripped him off. “He said, ‘No you need to fix it, you have to give me my money back, I’m going to call the police, you're stealing gas,’ I I’m like, ‘Okay,’” the clerk said. How is that not the same thing? Did you read the Daily Times article? The customer called the police because he thought he didn't get the amount of gas he asked for. How much gas does he expect to get on $20.00?Thats not a different scenario. It shows that this is happening everywhere. People are claiming they are getting ripped off from gas stations and blaming them for high gas prices. The difference here, the police did the math and calculated how much gas customer purchased. I am now wondering wether the Woburn police calculated the amount of gas purchased at Kings. I have never been ripped off at Kings. Have you been ripped off at Kings Mary? If you have, I would like to hear your story. If not, then you are relying your judgement on hearsay.
Mary J. Sawyer April 27, 2012 at 03:11 PM
Myself no, I don't go to KIngs because I prefer to pump my own gas and keep an eye on what I'm paying and how much I'm putting in my tank. However, before you assume that I'm relying on heresay, I DID IN FACT, have a relative who was pumped more than he asked for last year. He didn't file a police report but he was angry as heck that they expected him to pay for the gas he didn't request. He vowed never to go back and gave us all the heads up about what happened over there. I do read the Daily Times and I've been following this on Patch for the past few months. Most of the complaints have been about the attendants over pumping but there were a few complaints with regards to a customers guage not moving after filling up as well as some inspection sticker discrepancies. Why not do an investigation? If the investigation proves nothing, well then that's great! No harm done. Unfortunately, It doesn't seem like the owner and/or management is willing to take any action.
David Chesler April 27, 2012 at 03:39 PM
What did your relative do with the extra gas? (I'm sure he used it to drive his car.) In the end, what was different for him than if they hadn't pumped more than he asked for? How is it a scam? How does King profit from, or in exchange for, angering their customers? (As always, there seem to be 5 distinct categories of complaint: "They pumped more than I requested then" (as above, perhaps annoying, at most de minimis harm), "They're not as friendly as other places" (I said that), "They don't have amenities like credit cards, or self-service" (Yes), "The attendant at the other King station gave police a false name" (relevance to customer experience?) and "They charged me but didn't give me the gas they charged me for" (That's the one I'd still like to hear about, because it would be a scam but it doesn't make sense since the pump is in plain view.)
Mary J. Sawyer April 27, 2012 at 04:15 PM
He did not get what he asked for and then had to argue with the attendant over the additional money, that in itself was enough to make him not return to that gas station.
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 05:02 PM
This whole thing still doesn't make sense. It is our responsibility to look at the pumped gallons, and look at the price to make sure it is the exact price charged. Its not that hard to take the gas price and multiply it by the amount of gallons pumped to get the total amount. Every cell phone has a calculator installed and almost every person has a cell phone. Why not use it before making any rip off statements? No one can sit here and tell me that they know what was pumped in their cars unless they show me that they have some sort of gas measuring system on hand.
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 05:05 PM
If you read the article again, it says the police have spoken to the operators and an investigation continues. Woburn police should make a statement of what was said and what was done to resolve these complaints.
SOXFAN April 27, 2012 at 05:33 PM
@Mary, even if that happened to a relative of yours, the attendant is not benefiting here. I don't think that attendant cares to make Kings more money. The attendant is their to get paid for his job. If complaints keep happening that person ends up losing his job. Lets say that Kings is telling its attendants to rip off customers. Kings is probably making 2 to 3 cents per gallon. Say that you went in and got 6 gallons of gas. Kings will be making 12-18 cents on your transaction. Do you think its worth receiving a complaint every day? Don't think so. Also, still don't believe they are scamming us.
Mary J. Sawyer April 27, 2012 at 06:46 PM
Do you really care what I think, Soxfan? I doubt it and so I have no comment for you.
Jodi April 29, 2012 at 03:38 PM
I was scammed too...and on Mr. Crowleys comment ...some people don't have all the time in the world to sit and watch a pump. We the customers shouldn't be cheated this way by a company. They are taking advantage of people and you know it!! I will never drive in that gas station ever again!!! I don't care how low it is! I took my business elsewhere where I can trust them to fill my gas. Watt till it happens to you and we'll see whos bitching then!! You wake up and see what they are doing. They could be ripping you off and you don't know..such as water in your gas!! take that and put it in your pipe and smoke it!!! God !! people like you make me mad!!
David Chesler April 29, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Jodi, how did you get scammed? What happened, how did they slip it by you, how did you not notice, how did you discover it? When my tank is being filled I don't have much else I could be doing. I'm logging my gas purchase, so I take the time to read my odometer, reset the trip odometer, and mark the prices, and then I'm watching the pump anyway. If there's time I might do anything ahead on the GPS. Where there is a squeezee I'd wash the windows. But nothing that watching the pump, or at least glancing at it as I pay, is going to take away from. That's why the pump is there, to tell you what you're buying. Do you have any evidence they put water in the gas? Are they more likely or more able to water their gas than any other station? It's somewhat hysterical to act based on what _might_ be without any evidence that it is likely, or even more likely than any other situation. (This usually goes "Of course the cops had to shoot the dog. Sure it was an innocent puppy coming out to play, but what if it had been Osama Bin Laden? Then you'd be blaming the cops for letting him get away!") I'd rather stick with what _is_, not with what _might_ be.
Earnhardt July 05, 2012 at 10:58 PM
King Petro in the news again today.... The hits just keep coming! :)
concerned citizen September 24, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Tony Eskanien and his family are the biggest scam in the world, the guys that work there they can made a mistakes or something like that, i believe they all have families to support,
concerned citizen September 24, 2012 at 06:40 PM
781-844-3709 tony's number and this is his wife s number 781-727-0578 both phones can't get any voice mails, only if they decide to answer lol, this can tell they are not honest about what they doing.
concerned citizen September 24, 2012 at 06:41 PM
more news coming in soon
Karla Vallance September 24, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Concerned citizen, Jodi & others: we are not going to be allowing accusations of scamming to remain on the site, unless you've got specifics of what happened to you. Please delete your posts, or we will delete them for you. These forums are fine to tell others about what happened to you, but anonymous accusations of scammery don't cut it, folks. Use your real name and tell us what happened; then we will let it stand.
Jeff Megargell February 22, 2014 at 03:47 PM
I wanted to share my Yelp review from this place as well and spread it around the internet as much as possible. So it began about 2 PM on a Wed afternoon. I asked for $20 in gas as I was just about empty and wanted to get close to a half a tank. I'm on my lunch break and in a hurry so I never turned around to see how much was given to me, my mistake....which I immediately rectified after handing the guy a $20 bill and leaving the station. As I'm heading down the road I notice the needle only approaches a quarter tank, that can't be right. Just to ensure I'm not going crazy, I make a right, go around the block and I'm back in my SAME EXACT SPOT within 1-2 minutes. And guess what, it reads that I was only given $10 (picture uploaded). This is where it gets good.... "Hey buddy, I don't recognize you, you weren't here". That got me fuming and we began a verbal altercation. I kept testing him to pull some tapes of me being there after he a) threatened to call the cops on me b) said the tapes would prove that I WASNT there. No dice, no tape was ever reviewed. A mechanic had to come out and break up our altercation, I don't exactly enjoy being called a liar when a quick view of a video surveillance camera would prove otherwise. The station attendant was a complete jackass about the entire situation. I ended up filling out a "customer complaint form" which I also have picture proof of, along with the same exact spot I was sitting in and what the attendant put in my tank, asking for my money back. I'm not holding my breathe on this one, according to their track record, I'll be shocked to see this rectified. Not only is this station an issue on Yelp, but I've discovered the police have been called on numerous occasions regarding the same exact issue.
David Chesler February 26, 2014 at 10:09 AM
So what happened with the Woburn PD investigation? (And last I heard, larceny by deception is criminal.) The one type of scam (they over-pumped and expected me to pay) still doesn't make sense. (In the intervening two years I've moved from Woburn, and had the same happen with a fuel oil delivery the former owners forgot to cancel. They asked me to pay at the lowest discount price, and as I was not yet on contract with anyone, I accepted, no harm done.) Jeff's recent complaint sounds like outright theft.

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