Fixing a gas station mishap

Seven On Your Side
March 31, 2008 3:49:18 PM PDT
Drivers know you don't pump your own gas in New Jersey. Gas station attendants do.But a routine refill turned into a very expensive mistake for one man. So he got Tappy Phillips and Seven On His Side.

It was a mistake that became very costly for the truck owner. Regular gasoline was put into his diesel truck. And when the gas station wouldn't take responsibility, he called for Seven On His Side.

John Wilm knew what the problem was right away.

"The truck just stopped," he said. "Came to like a slow idle, and then it wouldn't start no more. And that was it."

Wilm had just stopped at a Getty station, where an attendant filled up his diesel truck. When it stopped, he had it towed to a Ford dealer, who said there was gasoline in the tank.

Wilm: "They had to drop the tank and change all the fuel filters and all of that."
Tappy: "It completely contaminated your system?"
Wilm: "Yes, yeah."

The repair and towing came to more than $2,000. So Wilm went back to the Getty station.

"Went to the station several times, several phone calls," he said. "Everybody's giving me the slip. Nobody wants to know nothing, nobody knows anything."

So John went to court. No one from the gas station showed up, so he won. But still, he didn't get any money.

"Nobody knew where to send the paperwork to or nothing like that," he said. "Just a total run around."

So we went to the gas station to see how this happened. Unlike some other stations, the diesel nozzle is on the same pump as gasoline. The gas nozzle is much thinner than the diesel, and, in theory, it should not be possible to make a mistake. But we found out that there was a way.

It was only possible if the attendant held the pump in the entire time.

So we contacted the Getty corporate offices.

"One phone call," Wilm said. "Everybody's call me now, and they want to make good."

Within days, he got a check for more than $2,100.

The parent company, Lukoil, said the matter should have been handled by the station. But when they heard about the court judgement, they took care of it. They said it was a rare occurance.

In states like New Jersey that require an attendant to pump your gas, it's always a good idea to watch closely. And not just for diesel, but also to make sure they pump the right grade of gasoline into your vehicle.