A couple have been left with a hefty garage repair bill – and say it came after a diesel pump at Tesco in Shepton Mallet filled their tank with petrol.
Adam Underwood said: “On December 26 my wife filled our Land Rover Freelander with diesel from the Tesco service station at Shepton.
“The tank was almost empty and she put more than 50 litres in. On the following day she went to the same filling station to fill our other diesel car. She noticed that many of the diesel pumps were closed which was unusual but it didn’t seem important at the time.”
They hardly used the Land Rover over Christmas but the day after Mr Underwood returned to work (January 3) he found it wouldn’t start. He called his local garage who discovered there was petrol in the fuel tank which had caused the car to break down.
Mr Underwood said: “The bill for the work carried out was £414.12 plus the cost of the fuel that Tesco supplied us with (about £70), which had to be drained.
“Whether there will be any long term damage is uncertain although petrol can cause seals in a diesel engine to degrade.”
The couple, from Doulting, are outraged Tesco has refused to accept responsibility, despite being presented with the receipt for diesel.
“On the advice of our garage we contacted Tesco to find out if they had any problems over Christmas.
“The supervisor at the local Tesco quickly denied any knowledge and commented that they hadn’t had any mix-ups for some time.
“We were unhappy with this response and requested that they reprinted our receipt for fuel. They flatly refused saying it was not possible.
“My wife found the original receipt – proof that we had bought diesel from the Tesco filling station. Tesco had obviously provided us with contaminated fuel.”
The couple complained to Tesco, “got passed from pillar to post” and eventually were asked to complete a vehicle damage report by customer services, which they handed in with the original receipt and the report from the garage.
Mr Underwood said: “After a week we received a response telling us that no one else had complained and they were not going to honour our complaint.
“We were very displeased as under law of trade description we had been provided with incorrect goods that were not fit for purpose and have consequentially caused expensive damage to our vehicle.
“My wife made attempts to contact the member of Tesco staff that sent the letter, eventually speaking to a colleague who was beyond rude, completely unsympathetic and did not want to hear the facts but instead insisted that because no one else had made a complaint they weren’t prepared to take ours seriously.”
A Tesco spokeswoman said: “Following Mr Underwood’s complaint we carried out a thorough investigation. Our fuel and tanks are checked on a daily basis and we have found no evidence of petrol contamination in our diesel. We received no other complaints from customers in December and January.”
Mr Underwood added that he is disgusted with Tesco’s “sheer arrogance” and the way their complaint has been handled.
He said: “Diesel cars will still run with petrol in them and it is all down to the concentration, so anyone else having a problem would depend on the concentration that was in the Tesco pumps and how much diesel the person filling had in their tank already. Unfortunately for us our tank was nearly empty when we filled up and also it was Boxing Day, so I guess not many people were filling their tanks on that day.
“It is so unjust as Tesco must have known whether they had contaminated fuel as the following day most of the diesel pumps were shut down.”
The garage which drained the fuel from the Underwoods’ Land Rover have kept it and say it can be tested by Tesco.