Tainted Diesel Nearly Totals FTE Member’s 2017 Super Duty

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Super Duty

This Ford truck owner’s unthinkable horror story will make you shiver. But it might just restore your faith in big corporations.

Is there anything more frustrating than having to call a company’s customer care number? Well, besides having your brand new truck suffer from unknown mechanical problems? As you may know, even with today’s social media transparency, there are some companies who still don’t give a rat’s ass about their customers.

Unfortunately, FTE forum member Matrix311 recently had to deal both scenarios listed above. The day after refueling his diesel-powered 2017 Ford F-250 Super Duty Lariat, he began experiencing issues with engine start-up. After taking it into a dealership and receiving a terrifying diagnosis, he was forced to make the dreaded ‘1-800’ call. Surprisingly, the treatment he received was nothing short of exemplary. But let’s start right at the beginning of Matrix311’s refueling fiasco, in his own words.

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Matrix311:

Two weeks ago I filled up at a gas station in Pinetop, Arizona on our way back from camping in the White Mountains. I had filled up at this same gas station using the same pump location on our way to the campground because it’s easy to access while pulling my travel trailer. After filling up and driving 180 miles home, up and through the Arizona mountains, we make it home just fine! The next day, I go to start the truck and it just kind of shook and then turned off. I thought that was strange, so I tried starting it back up and it immediately fired up and was running fine. I took my son to daycare, and then when I went to start the truck it was having a hard time getting started again. So I decided to drop it off at the dealership.

It took them two days to diagnose the issue and then they called me and said they had good news and bad news. The good news is they knew what the problem was, and the bad news is, they told me to call my insurance company. Here I thought it was going to be something simple like a sensor, or air in the fuel system. They told me they discovered unleaded gasoline in my tank and that it’s not covered under warranty. Now, I’m freaking out because I sure as hell didn’t put gasoline in my truck. I’m not that dumb, and I’m the only person who is allowed to put fuel in my Super Duty and I have the locking gas cap, so nobody can do it but me.

This is the turning point of Matrix311’s story. As he finds out about his terrible luck, he also realizes he has to make a phone call, and it won’t be pretty. Chances are, someone, at some point, will try to give him the runaround.

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Before I called the insurance company, I decided to call the gas station. I asked the lady who answered if they had reports of any pump issues and she immediately gave me an 800 number and said ‘Please call this number and they will help.’ I felt like she was putting me off and didn’t want to talk, so I tried to dig deeper with her while I had her on the phone. She said there have been reports of pump issues and she cannot go into details. So, I called the number and spoke with the customer service of this gas station, and she told me I had to fill out a bad gas report. Now I’m feeling like I’m getting the runaround and will have to jump through hoops. I emailed the form and literally within five minutes of sending it, I get a phone call from corporate and the first thing they tell me is they’re very sorry about what happened and will cover all associated repair costs. That was an instant sigh of relief! They acknowledged their fuel-delivery guy accidentally dumped 500-plus gallons of unleaded gasoline in their diesel holding tank!

It makes a huge difference when a large corporation owns up to their mistakes and does what’s right for their customers. Unfortunately, other FTE forum members haven’t been as lucky.

‘They told me they discovered unleaded gasoline in my tank and that it’s not covered under warranty. Now, I’m freaking out because I sure as hell didn’t put gas in my truck.’

FTE member, RFM, shared a similar story with a rather different outcome in the thread:

A few years ago, my gasoline-powered F-250 broke down on the highway two miles after I pumped gas. Limped it back to the station and told them they had water in their fuel. The attendant tells me that I was the third person to tell her that since their delivery. She shuts the station down and gives me the corporate number. I call the next day from the dealership and let them know what happened, and how much it was costing me. They then denied they had water in the fuel and tell me they won’t cover the repairs. I immediately call the state regulators and tell them what happened, and they go straight to the station and check the ethanol level, which was, in fact, below state levels from the filtering process (to remove the water and cover up the facts). They were fined $50,000 for selling fuel out of compliance, but they never paid my $400 bill.

One of the reasons why Matrix311‘s interaction went smoothly was because he kept his receipt and paid via credit card. He had all the right documentation to prove when and where he filled up and how much gas was purchased.

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Matrix311:

The estimate of repairs from the dealership [to be billed] to the gas station was $9,156.00, and that includes replacing the entire fuel system. Since this was such an expensive repair job, I told the gas station that it will likely go on Carfax and diminish the value of my truck. I told them to make up for the loss of value that I wanted them to buy me an extended warranty. I had the finance guy at the dealership quote them the 84-month 150,000-mile warranty at $5,385.00 and they agreed to cover the cost of the extended warranty.

So yeah, this whole ordeal sucks, but I was totally expecting them to be like, ‘Oh I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ I got the call from my dealership at 8:30 am, and the entire situation was resolved and fully taken care of by 6 pm. I didn’t have to raise my voice, threaten with a lawyer, or argue one bit.

So, what are the takeaways from this story? First, try to pump fuel from a reputable station. Second, avoid paying cash. Third, always save your receipt. And finally, speak up. Don’t avoid those calls to customer care or corporate, many companies are willing to work with their customers to right a wrong.

Make sure to stop by the “$10,000 repair job due to tainted diesel in my ’17 F-250” thread and show Matrix311 and RFM your support!

Join the FTE forums now! >>

Jerry Perez is a regular contributor to Ford Truck Enthusiasts, Corvette Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

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