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King Gas: Saving You Money or Scamming You?

Woburn Police are investigating several complaints regarding the discount gas station, which has locations in Malden.

UPDATE: Tuesday, April 24:  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.”

 

 

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.

Have you had similar problems in Malden? Think King's Petroleum is great? Let us know in the comments. 

Walter Peck April 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM
Cheapo gas. You should be worried about what that gas is doing to your car.
Jason April 19, 2012 at 01:33 PM
I've only had good experiences with the various King locations in Malden. The one on the corner of 99 and Salem is self-serve, so there's no chance of discrepancies between what you pay for and what you get.
Lynn Morabito April 19, 2012 at 02:03 PM
The Malden station on Eastern Ave..(not the self serve one) on more the one occasion with my own car and as a passenger in another car I felt that no gas was pumped in or not the amount I paid for.. I thought it was just me and mabye I was lower then I thought,however,Im not going anymore regardless of the low price..I just have a bad feeling about it and Im sure it has happened to others....Rather pay 20 cents more and actually get the gas I pay for...
Z April 19, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Yes, this has happened in Malden . I asked the attendant to pump $20.00, gave him the money.. I then turned and looked at the pump and noticed he had only pumped $10.00.. I called him back and asked him why the pump only read $10.00, he said the pump was "broken." I asked for a manager and he said there was no magaer there, that he was in charge. after going back and forth with him he finally gave in and gave me $10.00 back.. He was the rudest person I ever met, he made you feel like you where trying to scam him. I never went back !!
robert wilson April 19, 2012 at 03:21 PM
As the saying goes, you get what you pay for, you're chances of getting cheated at a discount dealer are much higher then at a major one.
Phe April 19, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I've been going to the King Gas on 60 in Medford and occasionally the one on the corner of Maplewood and 60 in Malden for years and never have I had an issue with them (and I'm a woman). I also had my car inspected in Medford, and they had me in and out and were super-friendly. I'm sure they're shady, but I tend to think that way of all cash-only gas stations. I know that the owners had signs up on all of their Medford stations claiming racism when the city had them shut down. It'll be interesting to see what they say about this article!
robert wilson April 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Was that our commercial break?
Marc Levine April 20, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Not a big fan of World Gas. I just don't trust them. Hess or Mobil. Or the gas station in Maplewood Sq. always seems to be good as well.
Marc Levine April 20, 2012 at 12:13 AM
I meant King Gas. It's been a long day. lol
stella April 20, 2012 at 02:55 AM
I have been getting my gas from king gas at the corner of maplewood and eastern ave for years and have never had a problem with them. (I am a woman) But i must also say i always watch the gas pumps to check that they pumped what i asked for.
Cathy April 20, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I also have been getting my gas from King gas at the corner of Maplewood and Eastern Ave and haven't had any problems. The attendant is always very friendly (and very busy). I do, however, watch carefully how much gas he pumps.
Hemi April 23, 2012 at 10:47 PM
The "Owner Tony" at the Malden station at Broadway & Salem is a scam artist for sure... I took (2) vehicles there for sticker inspections and he falsely failed them both! Of course he offered to fix the false problems in HIS garage. Instead, I took both vehicles to the dealerships where NO problems were found and the inspections stickers were issued... DO NOT DO BUSINESS WITH HIM AT ALL.
Lady Brett December 07, 2012 at 06:55 PM
Worst gas station. All of the "Eskanian" gas stations should be shut down. Not only are the gas a scam but there was a talk that there's drugs involved in the shop. A thorough investigation should be done at all stations and possibly their residency.
Maria Silva January 10, 2013 at 05:11 AM
i know one of the guys who worked there. he is from Morocco and his name is Mohamed short little guy. definitely buying his drugs there and ripping people off. this i know for sure
Maria Silva January 10, 2013 at 05:14 AM
this is what they do to make money because tony only pays them all like 8 dollars an hour no days off and 10 to 12 hour shift no breaks dirty bathroom etc

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