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Q: I read about the gentleman’s frustration with the $3,700 charge when his wife drove away with a gas nozzle in her car which broke the hose. Our family owns a San Jose gas station. This happens more than people might think.
A sign at the station tells customers that this repair costs $500 to over $5,000. A clean nozzle breakaway costs a few hundred dollars, but there’s also the cost of labor and lost gas sales to consider.
I’m sure the small business owner would be happy to write an invoice for the man to submit to his insurance company to cover the $3,700 he is responsible for.
A: It’s another day of broken gas nozzles and their aftermath.
Q: I sympathize with those who drive off with a gas nozzle still in their car. I avoid the problem by getting a receipt. The “Want a receipt?” question only appears after the nozzle is back on the pump.
Q: I was at a Berkeley gas station when someone started to drive off with the hose still in their car. The cashier was matter-of-fact about it and charged them $150.
A: It seems this person got a bargain.
Q: When this happened to my daughter, she was also told it would cost about $3,700. She was offered a “deal” of about $650 if she paid “right now,” in cash. She said she’d file an insurance claim (the attendant was not pleased) and noticed that the pump had been fixed within hours of her “breaking” it. When she called AAA to learn the status of her claim, they said they were looking into it, and had recently had a similar claim from that gas station. Then nothing. It’s been dropped.
A: Others feel the way you do.
Q: A breakaway connector usually breaks first. The cost of this repair is not nearly $3,700. Gas stations have replacement parts in stock. I was charged $300 a few years ago for breaking one.
Q: Years ago I did the same thing. The station owner asked for $300 to fix it, even though the hose had a breakaway fitting to avoid damage.
Gas station hoses and fittings are mandated by the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The District doesn’t mandate replacement costs, but has an interest in keeping those costs to consumers at a reasonable level as part of the air pollution program.
I called BAAQMD and they said they’d send an inspector to check the charge at the station. I heard nothing more about it.
A: Thanks for your story.
Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at email@example.com.
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