RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Mistakes at the gas pump happen, but state inspectors say it's often a pump malfunction, not a deliberate attempt to steal from customers. 12 On Your Side looked into one man's complaint against a local gas station.
Ty Owens picked up the nozzle for Pump #2 at Goldy's B.P. on Westwood and Broad Streets. It immediately jumped showing a small amount, but it's significant to Ty.
"15 cents is going off the thing before gas started going in," he said.
He informed the clerk after he finished pumping and says the response prompted him to call NBC12.
"He didn't want to deal with it," Ty said. "This thing is moving before you get gas. ‘Well I know nothing about the pump, got nothing to do with the pump.' Well you ever thought about checking on it?"
State inspectors did check the same day. Apparently another unhappy customer reported 'Goldy's B.P.' to the Office of Product and Industry Standards.
"We investigate every complaint that we get as quickly as we can. We can't always get to them the same day. Sometimes we do," said Elaine Lidholm with the Virginia Department of Consumer Affairs.
Pump #2 was condemned, taken out of service for meter jump, and a 2nd violation. No comment on camera from station owner, Manny Bhosin, but he gave us a receipt showing a state-certified technician fixed it, ASAP.
He says, he does 'not' have a history of complaints, and spends thousands in pump maintenance and repairs a year. He doesn't want to lose a customer over 15 cents. Ty, though, never got a refund.
"Yea. I feel cheated," said Ty.
Most retailers don't like customers playing gas pump roulette at the pump, it affects their bottom line.
"They want their pumps to be accurate. For one thing it's bad for business and they don't want the word of mouth to get out," added Lidholm.
31,646 pumps were inspected in Virginia last year. Of those, the state says 5,700 were rejected for 'many' reasons, other than fuel dispensed. Inspectors say it's an even split for those erring in favor of the customer or station.
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