Manchester Woman Blames Car Trouble on Bad Fuel

Filling up her car at the BJ’s Wholesale Club on the Tolland Turnpike was part of Alysia Duke’s routine.

What wasn’t routine was the way Duke says her car performed after one particular fill-up in June.

"It was bucking a little bit and if I pushed on the pedal, it didn't even sound like it was revving up," Duke said.

Duke said she was afraid the car would stall on the highway, so instead of driving to work, she headed straight for the dealership.

Duke assumed the problem was mechanical. But she says the dealership told her it was bad gas.

The dealership explained its testing process to NBC Connecticut Responds in an email.

“We put 50% gas and 50% water in a clear container shook it and let it settle out,” the email read.

After settling, the water was foggy, which the dealership says indicates poor quality fuel.

Service technicians removed the fuel pump and flushed the fuel. They then reinstalled the pump and put four gallons of new fuel in the tank. The dealership says the car ran without problem.

Duke went back to BJ’s with the results and says employees filed a claim on her behalf with the gas station’s insurance, Sedgwick Claims Management.

Duke says a representative for Sedgwick contacted her, but stopped communicating after a few days. Then came the denial letter.

It said, “The gas tanks at this Club are monitored by an electronic system that is in place to detect contaminants such as such as water and sediment. Our investigation states that on the date you purchased gasoline there was zero water present in the tanks.”

Duke says she didn’t fill up anywhere else.

She contacted NBC Connecticut Responds at a friend’s suggestion.

"I've seen it on the news before but I didn't even think anything of it for myself to be honest with you," Duke said.

Our consumer team sent Sedgwick a copy of Duke’s invoice from the dealership, which explains their findings, along with a photo of the gas sample. Soon after, Duke says Sedgwick offered her a resolution of $306.43.

Duke says that’s enough to cover her repair bill and a tank of gas, and says her car is running smoothly.

“I’m very happy with the result,” she said.

A spokesperson for BJ’s said the company did not receive any other complaints about fuel quality at the Manchester location.

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