Monroe couple stuck with car repair bill after buying bad gas

MONROE, N.C. — A Monroe woman said her husband purchased fuel for his SUV that turned out to be bad, and they got stuck paying hundreds to have it repaired.

Sandy Williams said her husband filled up his car at the BP station at the corner of Highway 74 and Morgan Mill Road in Monroe. The next day, the SUV would not start.

“We didn’t know what was wrong with it,” she said, so they had the car towed to the dealership.

Williams said the dealer told her the gas had water in it.

“We said ‘go ahead and do whatever needs to be done,’ and we paid for it,” she told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke. She said the repairs cost $1,169.

“We tried to get in contact with the people at BP and they were just nonresponsive,” Williams said. “My husband even went up there, and they were very rude, so we were like, ‘OK we’ll go ahead and file an insurance claim.’”

It worked, sort of.

“GEICO paid for the repairs, but we still had the $500 deductible,” Williams explained.

She didn’t think that was fair, so she fought for months trying to get reimbursed before she emailed Action 9. Stoogenke emailed GEICO and less than a day later the company responded that the issue was resolved.

“All of a sudden, I got an email from GEICO saying the claim, $500, has been paid … I was like, ‘Wow,’” she said.

As for the bad gasoline, Stoogenke asked the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services about it.

The agency told him a driver reported the station and the state inspected it. It said something damaged the concrete above the tank and that water seeped into the tank. A company fixed the crack to prevent further problems, but it did not clean out the contaminated fuel first.

The state closed the pumps until the problem was resolved and the inspector could verify the fuel quality. The state says it could have issued a misdemeanor and fined the business up to $5,000, but that stopping sales impacts a company’s bottom line and usually gets faster results.

Stoogenke suggests if you get bad fuel in your vehicle, you can try some additives. But if you’re having severe engine trouble, take your car to a shop right away. If you wait too long, you can have serious damage and expensive repairs, especially if you use diesel.

He said to also report the problem to the gas station. It may not be its fault. It could be its supplier’s fault.

Drivers can complain to the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services here.

Stoogenke said to also ask your insurance company if it will cover repairs.

He asked GEICO and the BP station for their sides of the story. GEICO did not give an official statement and the BP station did not respond in time for this report.

VIDEO: Action 9 helps driver get almost $40,000 back for SUV