How did a tank of gas cost one woman $500?

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A teacher contacted WINK News after she said her $30 tank of gas ended up costing her more than $500.

Erin Jenkinson was on her way to school in mid-November when she said she filled up at the Marathon gas station at 3915 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in Fort Myers. After filling up, Jenkinson said her car immediately stopped working properly.

“I could notice some transition issues, but I thought it was just because I was stepping on the gas or something like that… I started my car after work and it stalled,” she said. “And then the transmission was really really jumpy and then I couldn’t get gas.”

A few days later, Jenkinson said her car would no longer drive.

She got it towed to a repair shop.

“The tow truck driver knew. When he started the car he immediately asked me, ‘Hey did you put diesel in the gas,’” she said. “And I said ‘absolutely not, no.”

The repair shop bill showed that the issue was contaminated fuel. Repairs would cost her $457.15.

That same day, WINK News Call for Action contacted the Florida Department of Agriculture, which oversees gas stations, and reported the issue. The agency immediately sent an inspector to the station to test the fuel.

Their report found that regular gas was in the diesel fuel and vice-versa. A “stop sale” was issued by the state until the problem was fixed.

Before Call for Action got involved, Jenkinson said she tried several times to alert the gas station and ask for her money back, but said no one responded.

After several attempts, Call for Action did not hear from the station owner.

Call for Action then talked to an employee with Edison Oil, which was listed on the state’s record as accepting responsibility for the “substandard product.” The employee did not want to go on camera but said he would pass along CFA’s contact information to the gas station owner.

When we contacted Marathon’s corporate office, they sent us a statement:

“Thank you for contacting us about this. Our customer relations personnel have been in contact with Ms. Jenkinson and are working with her to assess her claim.”

Just in time for Christmas, Jenkinson said she got an email from the gas station owner, saying she would be reimbursed for the repairs and the gas she bought for a total of $507.15.

If you fill up at a gas station and think something was wrong with the fuel, it is important to call the Florida Department of Agriculture immediately at 1-800-HELP-FLA. They will send an inspector out to the site as soon as possible. Make sure you keep all your receipts as well in case you have to file a claim.

Reporter:Lindsey Sablan
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