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Tesco denies fuel claims after another motorist's complaint

By Shepton Mallet Journal  |  Posted: March 07, 2013

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A supermarket giant has been left baffled by the apparent lack of complaints after being accused of mixing up its vehicle fuel.

Last month the Journal reported on a complaint made by a couple who believed their Land Rover had been filled with contaminated fuel at Tesco in Shepton Mallet on Boxing Day, which they claim caused it to break down.

Tesco refused to accept responsibility saying that they had received no other complaints about fuel in December or January.

However now another Tesco customer has come forward to say he had to call out a breakdown service after filling up with diesel at the store's Shepton Mallet service station.

Tom Williams filled up his fuel tank with diesel at Tesco in Shepton on January 6.

After refuelling he drove to Evercreech to visit a friend and parked there for the rest of the day. The next day his car wouldn't start and was pouring with smoke. He called his breakdown service.

Mr Williams said: "The engineer checked the filters and asked what fuel he had put in.

"He said it smelt of biofuel not diesel."

Tesco have been asked to comment on the second claim, but they say they are baffled as if there was a mix-up they would expect to receive hundreds, if not thousands of complaints, not just two.

"Although we have checked all our records and can find no record of a complaint by Mr Williams in January, we would of course be very happy to speak to him about this issue," she said.

"Hundreds of cars pass through our pumps each day and in December alone this site sold diesel to several thousand customers.

"We are only aware of a single complaint made during December and January, which we investigated and found no evidence to suggest petrol contamination in our diesel.

"In addition, we monitor our fuel and tanks on daily basis and have found no evidence of contamination during this time."

Mr Williams said he checked his Tesco receipt which verified that he had put diesel in the tank.

He went back to Tesco and complained once the breakdown engineer had got his vehicle started. According to Mr Williams the manager said that there had been no other complaints so it couldn't be their fault.

The following day Mr Williams tried to start his car and the same thing happened. He had to call the breakdown service out again. Mr Williams' visit to his friend in Evercreech was cut short as this time they recovered him back to his home in Chester and advised him to drain the fuel tank.

He says he is still having problems with his car and can't park it for any length of time without it starting to smoke when he starts it.

Mr Williams and his wife drove their Mitsubishi Pajero from Chester to Somerset without any problems. Mr Williams said: "When we went into the service station to report the problem the manager put us on the phone to a customer complaints person. They said we have our tanks checked all the time.

"We were not offered a customer complaints form. They acted like it was not their problem and said there was nothing they could do."

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  • siarad2  |  March 07 2013, 3:55PM

    @RealZeon I tend to agree. I sometimes see cars belching smoke after putting in the wrong fuel. Diesels will run on petrol & petrol on Diesel depending on mixture in the tank. The customer's problems seem typical a mixed fuels: smoking & bad starting.

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  • RealZeon  |  March 07 2013, 1:25PM

    As a manager in charge of several service stations, we also get the occasional complaint about our fuel being of the wrong type or contaminated. As has rightly been said, if the wrong fuel was in a storage tank then it would not be the odd car breaking down but every single customer that used that pump. The cause of such breakdowns are always unrelated to the fuel but rather to a problem with the customers car, usually the fuel filter that probably hasn't been changed for years. It is very annoying when customers seek to blame a petrol station for a problem with their car and they just don't seem to realise that the likelyhood of a fuel mix up that only affects their car is 100% impossible unless of course THEY have put in the wrong fuel themselves !

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