By Lancaster resident Joey Gorman. [Gorman’s senior parents were stranded some 55 miles away from home last week after purchasing fuel (alleged to be contaminated) from the Shell gas station on the corner of Challenger Way and Avenue K].
On Oct. 2, 2014, my father filled up his minivan to take his wife down to Panorama City for testing due to her seven-year battle with breast cancer. They made it from Lancaster to Panorama City, but upon leaving Kaiser, their van started stalling and the ‘check engine’ light started flashing. The minivan is only a year old. The only option was to have it towed to the nearest dealership in Van Nuys and have family drive from Lancaster to bring them back home.
The next day, Honda called and stated the problem was due to contaminated fuel. They said repairing it would start at $800, and it might be higher depending on the damage from the bad fuel.
Once getting this information, we contacted the Shell station directly, at around 10 a.m. Oct. 3, and spoke with the manager, Suzie. She said they were waiting for inspectors to come out and inspect the tanks and see what was happening. She stated that all she was doing was taking names and phone numbers until they get the results from the inspection. I then stopped by around 5 p.m. that afternoon to find out the status of the inspection.
When I arrived, I snapped a photo (see above) of the inspectors working at the tanks. The Shell station had stopped selling any unleaded fuel by this time.
I spoke to Suzie in person, this time regarding the reimbursement to customers due to this. She stated she was still waiting for the inspectors to finish and give her a report, and she would contact everyone on her list. She also stated that it only appeared to be the unleaded fuel that was affected, and if the fuel was contaminated, the repairs would be their (Shell’s) responsibility.
I found out Saturday that the Honda dealership had possibly found more damage to my parents’ minivan due to the contaminated fuel, which would be additional costs.
I again contacted the Shell station. When the person answered the phone, she stated Suzie had left and I would have to contact the corporate office. When trying to contact the corporate office, it went right to voicemail.
At this point, we have not heard anything back from the Shell station manager or the corporate office. At this time, my parents’ van is still sitting at Honda in Van Nuys waiting for parts to repair the damage this station has caused.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The AV Times.
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Editor’s note: We tried contacting the Shell station for more information on this incident, and we were told we would have to contact the corporate office at 877-867-4355. Repeated calls to that number went straight to voicemail.