Problems at the pump: customers want repaid for 'bad gas' damages

NOW: Problems at the pump: customers want repaid for ’bad gas’ damages


Customers of a Plymouth gas station say their trucks broke down minutes after getting what they call ‘bad gas’. ABC 57 is working for you to find out who should be held accountable.

The state health department actually shut down that gas station on the corner of Queen Road and US 30 on Wednesday after finding water in their tanks.

The owner of a local towing company says he towed four vehicles whose drivers claim to have just bought gas from that station just last week.

“Doesn’t even look like gas, and doesn’t really even smell like gas,” said Nate Cowen, holding up a container filled with the gas he emptied from the tank of his truck.

That may be the case, but it’s what Cowen says an unmarked gas station on Queen Road in Plymouth sold to him on April 1st, right before his truck broke down.

“I continued pumping gas, and then immediately after I was done, I went to fire it up, and it just started real fast. It wouldn’t even run, so I pumped the hood and started bleeding the injectors, and that’s when I noticed there was water in it,” he said.

Comparing the gas he emptied from his tank after his truck broke down to gas from another station, there is a definite difference in color and smell.

Nate says because of this fuel, he had to have his truck towed and then fixed for $358.

So, he told the owner about it.

“He said he would shut down, but then I come back around later on that day, and he was still selling gas,” said Cowen.

The station was at least selling gas six days later, on April 7, because that’s when Boe Ford filled up on fuel that he claims damaged his truck.

“I got about a mile away from the gas station, and my truck started slowing down, even though I was pushing the accelerator to go faster, and eventually it died,” said Ford.

Boe says he confronted the owners later that day.

“She told me…we’ll take care of it. Leave your name and phone number with the gas station attendant, and my husband will call you…Nobody ever called me,” he said.

Fast forward to Wednesday, the Marshall County Weights and Measures inspector said they received complaints about the station, so they tested the fuel, found water and shut them down, putting red tags and plastic bags over the pumps.

Thursday, Nate’s fiance spoke with the owner.

“He said something about being sorry that he couldn’t settle up with us, and now that the state and federal government’s involved that there’s nothing he can do about it until they settle up with him,” he said.

The inspector, however, said it’s up to the owner and customer to settle the dispute.

If they don’t, there could be a lawsuit.

“Any transaction in goods is covered by what’s called the Universal Commercial Code… Any damages that flow from that non-conforming good, in theory, at least, you’re entitled to recover for, so in this case, bought bad gas. If the bad gas truly caused problems with their motors, they had to have tow bills, I think all of that stuff is potentially recoverable for these people,” said Plymouth attorney, Joseph Morris.

“I just want him to fix it, that’s it, and give me my money back for the gas,” said Boe Ford.

They both said the owner initially agreed to reimburse them, but they say he hasn’t really followed up about it.

ABC 57 called the owner twice today and left two voice mails, disclosing our plan to report this story and asking if he had any comments. We have not heard back from him yet. We will update you if we do.

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