‘Stop to save 3¢ on Kroger gas cost me $900, or $81 a gallon’
This happened to me recently but it could’ve just as easily happened to you or someone you know. I’m out approximately $900 for 11 gallons of gas (or $81 a gallon) purchased at Kroger.
On Friday afternoon I filled my car up at the Kroger gas station at Crosstown. Within minutes my car ran extremely rough despite no prior issues. My car had 29,000 miles on it, was in excellent condition, garaged and till then never had a problem.
We informed the gas attendant and the store co-manager. The car was surging, shaking and smoking. He suggested we take the car to get checked immediately. We took it to the first garage we could find. That’s where it promptly died. It was late on Friday, and they couldn’t check it till Monday.
On Monday it failed most of the diagnostics. They changed the spark plugs since they were now completely fouled and partially exploded (Mazda installed new ones 14 months prior). They contacted Mazda to see if they had any idea what it could be. Ultimately they gave up, so we had it towed to the Mazda dealer 20 miles away.
The next day Mazda mechanics found contaminant believed to be diesel fuel. (Imagine my surprise since diesel isn’t sold at this station). They removed all of the fuel, and cleaned all interior parts that came into contact with the fuel. Once “decontaminated” the car was back to normal and luckily drove just fine.
I had the Department of Agriculture test Kroger fuel tanks. The report showed no contamination on that day; however, that test was completed five days later, with deliveries made twice a day, over 75,000 gallons had been pumped in and out. None of the original contaminated fuel remained, rendering that test worthless.
Yet the fact remained that I received contaminated fuel. The diagnosis of diesel fuel contamination is in line with the quick deterioration of the car’s performance, explosive burns on the spark plugs, excessive carbon fouling, smoking, stalling and eventual cessation of the engine.
I dealt with the general manager for Kroger. He told me they would definitely take care of me even if it meant “paying me out of his own pockets.”
For a moment I was impressed. However, I was not handled professionally or in a timely manner by their company. I was made to feel like I’d done something wrong.
I continued to cooperate and patiently waited. They had receipts, pictures, documents and witnesses, yet they closed my case. They never even bothered to tell me. When I asked why, their answer was, “Cars break.”
So far I was without my car, incurred over $900 in bills including $37.11 for one contaminated tank of gas and no one was willing to help.
[The manager] who originally seemed so full of customer service now told me that “he was just the store manager and there was nothing he could do.”
He said that Kroger was no longer involved and did not want to be contacted further. Apparently, their customer service is just an act and managers can’t do anything.
I have given Kroger ample opportunity to do the right thing. The lack of customer support has not only been extremely disappointing but downright disrespectful. I was inconvenienced, lied to, stuck with bills and told to go away.
Kroger pledges “customer satisfaction” but when it comes right down to it they obviously don’t care about their customers.
That was the most expensive gas I’ve ever purchased (so much for the 3-cent savings).
Peachtree City, Ga.