Today I will write about some rogue staff at Petro Uganda Limited at their filling station on Yusuf Lule road after Fairway traffic lights.
The aim of this article is to help drivers not fall victim to these dishonest fraudsters operating at this service station. Share this article with drivers so you raise awareness but also so that the management of this petrol station takes measures to protect innocent clients.
Yesterday 15th July 2020 at 4:02Pm I had the misfortune of my vehicle breaking down opposite Twed Towers Kampala next to Fairway Hotel. At the time of the breakdown, I was running with a low petrol warning light having spent hours in Kampala Jam.
When the car came to a stop, I naturally suspected the fuel was low – but I was wrong. I immediately ordered a safe Boda to get me petrol and a One Simon on 0757713632 was kind enough to help me and can corroborate this story.
After adding petrol worth 40,000shs, the car still couldn’t start! I opened the bonnet and realized that the fan-belt had gotten damaged and in the process “uninsulated” a wire consequently breaking it. I needed the wire to be rejoined and the fan-belt replaced.
I asked Simon, my Safe Boda guy, to go to Petro Yusuf Lule service station and ask if they had a resident mechanic who could replace the fan-belt. Simon returned minutes later with a young man called Drake.
The first thing that struck me when I saw Drake was that he did not carry a single spanner to do the Job! I asked him if he was familiar with replacing a fan belt. His response even shocked me and the people I was with further. His response was “What’s your problem? Do you want someone to help you or you want age?” Now, I had not made a mention of his age at all even though I could visibly see he was a bit young.
Being in need, I let him have a look at the car. He indeed confirmed my diagnosis and tried to call around to source for a new fan-belt. This was around 5pm now and he failed to get anyone that could give him a new fan-belt.
In the meantime, he rejoined the cut wire and applied masking tape so we transferred from Twed Towers to Petro Service station Yusuf Lule road next to Fairway traffic lights.
Now I must tell you that my side hustle is selling cars and spare parts. I have been doing this for three years now. I am not a mechanic but I know cars very well. This is how I was able to diagnose my problem with accuracy. It also took me just a single phone call to have the belt sent to us. At exactly 5.16Pm the fan-belt arrived.
Drake started by saying the belt was bigger. I tried to reason with him that if the part number was the same, there was no way it would be bigger. He managed to shut me down and I politely asked the New Boda guy to wait before he could leave in case my bully mechanic insisted that we order for something new.
Some fifteen minutes later he allowed me to send off the boda guy when he finally agreed it was the right belt.
Now for some of you familiar with cars, replacing a fan-belt is a fairly easy job. Apart from removing the front driver’s tyre, the process is slightly easy to pull off by an experienced mechanic. Because curfew time was approaching, I asked Drake rather politely and innocently “Senior, Otusewa?” literally asking, how far he was with the replacement and Boooom another very rude reply. “Ssebo Tompapya. Nsobola obisiba nga bwenjagala nebivilayo mukubo” Meaning Don’t rush me. I can do a bad job and the belt will come off before you get home”
After that Bombshell, I kept my silence without asking further but luckily at 6:30Pm Drake with the help of another workmate had fixed the belt and it was time to pay their labour fees. It had taken them roughly one hour to get the belt fixed. I also had some 30 minutes before curfew time.
This is a 30-40,000 job (labour only) but not to patronize him I asked, “So what is your labour charge senior?” “150,000/= will be enough” Drake Responded. I told him I did not have that type of money left on me. I got a 40,000/= and handed it to him but he refused. I increased it to 50,000/= still refused. Then Drake hijacked my car keys and pocketed them.
Being at a petrol station I thought was reputable, I asked to speak to the station manager. Drake showed me another young man. I explained exactly what happened but the manager told me if the job had been done then I had to pay whatever Drake asked for. I explained that the money had not been agreed upon in the first case but the manager couldn’t listen to me either. He could not even see the irony that the labour charge was twice the cost of the spare they had replaced.
So I tactically asked them, So if I do not have the money you want and you have refused the money I have what do we do? They told me that I wouldn’t take my car. It was just a few minutes to curfew time and I had my family waiting for me in the car and here were two con stars telling me to park the car and walk home. On top of that the manager was kind enough to inform me that If I took that option, I would get charged 80,000/= per night the car spent parked at his station.
Things were no longer funny so I tried one more time to plead with the two. They refused to listen to me. Drake told me he was leaving but if I wanted he could get some car parts from my car that dont stop a car from moving that he would only give me back when I brought the money he wanted. Of course, I refused to take that stupid offer and Drake left telling the young man that had been introduced as a manager that he expected either to find all his money the following day or my car in the parking.
I asked that we go to the police and settle the matter from there since we had failed to agree. The manager told me the car was going nowhere. If I were to go to the police the car was to stay at the service station. I was scared to leave the car in the hands of someone who had offered to remove parts from my car already.
No amount of begging to settle the matter at a police station where being entertained. I tried to call a few police officers I know to help me send me police officers without leaving my car but everyone I called wasn’t picking. I was practically trapped. My car hijacked by Drake and handed over to the manager Mr. Mugume Archibold. (I know that name from Airtel 0758 153399 Mobile Money Display Name).
In the meantime, there was a Gentleman known to the two con stars at Chairman. He had been seeing me labour to explain something at a distance. Finally, he picked concern and asked me what had happened. I told him the story and he called Drake on his phone as he had left. I do not know what discussions were held but Drake accepted to have my car keys given back to me If I paid 50,000/=. Strange that by this time I had even offered more and still had been refused. I paid the 50,000/= and proceeded to break the law by driving home past curfew time.
Now am really not sure if Mr. Mugume Archibold is the manager of Petro Yusuf Lule service station or a worker who was masquerading as the manager but if he is, he is a total disgrace to Petro Uganda Limited. Besides taking part in a fraud plot, he needs to be educated that when you disagree with a client, you can not at the same time refuse to take the client to police even when the client is offering to go with you so you resolve the matter. If you can not go then call the police to your service station or use your guard to escort the client to police instead of intimidating clients with threats.
- If you can, don’t get any strange mechanic to repair your car. Always have a mechanic you trust to look at your car unless it’s really unavoidable.
- Where someone has to repair your car, first call and explain to your regular mechanic so that they explain to you what you are possibly dealing with. If I did not know for certain that the fault with my car was a fan belt, Drake could possibly have exaggerated the problem to justify more pay.
- Do not trust mechanics simply because you found them at a reputable garage. Petro filling station Yusuf Lule road is a reputable place yet its where my fraudulent mechanics were!
- Keep your cool. One of the tricks con stars use is intimidation and fear. Drake tried to intimidate me, he threatened me with having my family walk in the night in curfew. His “manager” threatened me with 80,000/= extra pay for every night my car was parked at their station, but I knew they were trying to rob me and I refused to give in to the threats.