Total loss for wrong fuel

Old Jul 16, 19, 7:57 pm
  #1  
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Total loss for wrong fuel

So I rented a car for two days last month at Advantage. It was a 5 year old Jetta that took diesal only, it was on the gas hatch and the gas cap. Before I returned it I filled it with diesal, i checked 3 times and had my girlfriend verify I chose diesal. Drove the car back to the rental car lot no problem and closed out rental. Lo and behold a month later I get a bill from Viking Claims for a whopping $13,585. They claim I put gas in the tank not diesal, what a surprise. They sent me a repair bill from Volvo dated 3 days after I returned the car for $5,600. The comment simply reads "customer states he put gas in diesal engine, inspect and advise." Under Cause: there its nothing written so it literally looks like they took Advantages word for it and drew up a repair bill. Ironically a guy named Mike from Advantage is listed as the customer. The price on the claim increased to $13,585 according to the claims representative because they legally could claim it a total loss in California due to the percentage of price of repair to value and therefore charged me the total market value of the car.
Does anyone think this sounds fishy? No diagnosis from Volvo, no cause written, car was brought in 3 days after i brought it back and I have to pay for a brand new car?
According to the paperwork the car was driven 1 mile after i returned it before going to the shop.
why would they be renting out a 2014 anyway?
Seemed outdated and sounds like they are trying to get a new car from me?
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:24 pm
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Location?
Got the receipt for refill of diesel (or gas)?
Did you fill it to 100%?
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:29 pm
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For what it's worth, I always keep copies of my fuel receipts (which these days frequently show the type of fuel), cash toll receipts (if any), and my initial rental agreement and return receipt for at least a month or two following a rental (along with a cellphone video of the car when returned, and a photo showing the odometer and fuel level at return).
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:34 pm
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It was Inglewood, Ca. I wish I had kept the receipt but unfortunately I gave it to them upon return.
I drove exactly 259 miles on it according to their paperwork which works out to be a little more then half the tank I had to replace before returning it, which I did to fill it back up. That should mean half the tank was still diesel IF I had put gas in it, which I didn't, and yet somehow the car was damaged beyond repair after 1 mile?

Last edited by garth.suhr; Jul 16, 19 at 8:44 pm
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:35 pm
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Isn't diesel fuel usually dispensed from a completely separate pump (or, at least, from a different nozzle) than gasoline these days? If so, why would one need to check three times that one had chosen diesel?

Edited to add: There's at least one reported case of diesel and gasoline being put into the wrong storage tanks at a service station:

https://abc13.com/archive/7967570/

Last edited by guv1976; Jul 16, 19 at 8:43 pm
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:42 pm
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No this station had diesel on the same pump but a seperate handle with a green button on the opposite side. All the pumps in California I saw were like this.

Funny thing was I rented 5 cars in those two weeks, not a single branch or company asked for my insurance ahead of time to file, yet this one just so happened to make a photocopy of my insurance for no reason and magically their the one who filled a claim.
I worked for enterprise for years and it was never protocol to ask for insurance with a credit card rental.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 8:58 pm
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Asking for your insurance company if you decline the rental company's CDW is not uncommon. We see it a lot on contracts for Dollar and Thrifty, so while you may not have been asked other times at other companies, I wouldn't read anything into that fact.

Basically, at this point, if you feel that it was definitely not your error, I would document everything and send a sternly worded letter certified, return receipt requested to Viking Claims. Stick to the facts and don't provide color commentary that is not relevant or helpful to your case (like the age of the vehicle for example as that doesn't really have any bearing). It would be much better to have an attorney write the letter (that would be what I personally would do given the amount of money involved), but either way, push back using all of the facts that support your case and explain how there is no way you could be at fault and that you reject their claim outright.

Note that they may feel they have a strong case, or they may just be fishing. What you want to do is to not make it easy on them. Push back hard, but do it in a smart way that doesn't undermine your case. For that, depending on your level of comfort and capability, it may be necessary to hire an attorney to handle the communication with them.
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Old Jul 16, 19, 9:08 pm
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If you rented a VW Jetta where does Volvo come in, or is that just a typo? Have they mixed you up with another customer?
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Old Jul 17, 19, 2:45 am
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In most places the diesel dispenser is a different size than the gas dispenser to prevent mixups, so you would remember if you had difficulty getting the hose to fit in the tank.

I would try contacting the gas station to see if they can generate a receipt copy or if they have camera footage which would show which hose you used. And I would send a letter to Advantage saying you will not pay the invoice and any legal action they take against you will be defended and met with counteraction. And be prepared to actually follow through on that.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 3:12 am
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The fuel receipt should have proof enough. Price per gallon should be enough to ID type of fuel, at least in my state.

Tell them you submitted proof proof of the type of fuel purchased via the receipt you handed over. Ask them to forward you a copy. In the meantime, you should ask your credit card company for detailed records of the transaction. They should be able to tell you everything the receipt shows.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 7:59 am
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Originally Posted by MADPhil View Post
If you rented a VW Jetta where does Volvo come in, or is that just a typo? Have they mixed you up with another customer?

It isn't a typo, it was a VW Jetta but for some reason the paperwork is from Volvo. I can't tell if it is an estimate for repairs or an actual bill. If it's an actual repair bill then why do they get to repair the car for $5600, keep it and then get $13,585 from me. Seems sketchy.

I tried calling the gas station for a copy of the receipt and the guy who answered said "no, ill explain if you come in" and then hung up on me". Unfortunately I live in Florida.

I am going to call my bank and ask if they can possibly give me a detailed version of the transaction at Arco.

I looked up Arco online and I see articles about people complaining about the low quality gas and diesal they have.

I also called Viking back and left a voicemail asking why there was no diagnosis actually done, no finding by the service advisor, no fuel samples to prove what they said was true just basically a comment saying this is what they said and she has yet to call me back.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:14 am
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Originally Posted by garth.suhr View Post
... Drove the car back to the rental car lot no problem and closed out rental. Lo and behold a month later I get a bill from Viking Claims for a whopping $13,585. They claim I put gas in the tank not diesal, what a surprise.
<snip>
. The price on the claim increased to $13,585 according to the claims representative because they legally could claim it a total loss in California due to the percentage of price of repair to value and therefore charged me the total market value of the car.
<snip>
.....and sounds like they are trying to get a new car from me?
Originally Posted by garth.suhr View Post
It isn't a typo, it was a VW Jetta but for some reason the paperwork is from Volvo. I can't tell if it is an estimate for repairs or an actual bill. If it's an actual repair bill then why do they get to repair the car for $5600, keep it and then get $13,585 from me. Seems sketchy.
....
If they are charging you the full market value ask for the car back. In a way it is yours.
What is used car price for a car with same engine & mileage?
Is $13,585 fair market value?

Gas (petrol) & diesel do not mix well. That mixture will cause a lot of damage.
But if the car is sent auction as incorrect fuel & damaged, some back yard mechanic will buy it, clean the engine fuel system up, and then re sell it.

What was the price of gas/diesel at the Arco gas station? From your credit card should be able to work how gallons of gas or diesel

For that sort of money I would be talking to a lawyer
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:23 am
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VW and Volvo are completely unrelated companies. Could this be a error their end? Clearly their documentation is in error which may help you if it goes to court.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by Worcester View Post
VW and Volvo are completely unrelated companies. Could this be a error their end? Clearly their documentation is in error which may help you if it goes to court.
The comment in their paperwork that "customer states he put gas in diesal engine, inspect and advise." would also appear to be an error.
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Old Jul 17, 19, 9:00 am
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Contact your Credit Card company, often times fuel billings/credit card reporting will have some transaction level details for type of fuel and amount and date. It may not show up on your bill but it might be something the CC provider MIGHT be able to see on the back end.
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