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BP: Diesel mix-up victims will be timely paid

May 13, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
BP says they'll be swift in reimbursing those who suffered due to a diesel-gasoline mix-up in Granada Hills Wednesday.Renee Ammann is no mechanic, but she knows first-hand what happens when diesel fuel goes into an unleaded car.

"Diesel's bad. Diesel's not good," Ammann said, and most mechanics agree.

Ammann was one of 10 people who filled up their tanks at a Thrifty Gas Station in Granada Hills Wednesday. But thanks to a delivery error, all the unleaded pumps sent diesel pouring into the cars and trucks.

All the vehicles had to be towed and now their owners are facing some serious repair bills.

In Ammann's case, it's especially pricey since she started her car at the station, sending the diesel coursing through the fuel system.

"The fuel filter and the fuel arrays and the fuel injectors are all contaminated. You change it out, it's going to be over $1,500," said Ned Minassian of Ned's Car Care.

Dennis Kirwan is a little luckier. After he filled up his tank with the diesel, someone warned him not to start the car. His repair bill amounts to $360.

"There's also the $40 I put in my car, which I haven't seen a refund for yet," said Kirwan.

But Kirwan and Ammann say getting reimbursed is turning out to be a battle. Thrifty is owned by BP, and its representatives told the diesel victims it could take months to pay for the car repairs, once they send in all the receipts.

"They have 45 days to look them over, then once they make their decision, they'll fine the trucking company, then the trucking company has 45 days to pay BP and then after that, sometime we'll get reimbursed," said Ammann.

"When all said and done, I'm looking at four months maybe before I get a refund," said Kirwan.

That didn't sound fair. So Eyewitness News called the general manager of BP's media relations department. When told of the potential four-month wait, he started checking around and assured us the repair bills would now be paid in 8 to 10 days.

"You can't count the chickens until the eggs hatch, but we'll see. Hopefully, what I'm also more concerned about is the loss of work. They cost me a few hundred dollars in that department too," said Kirwan.

BP's media relations general manager was unsure about the "loss of work" or rental car reimbursements. Kirwan, though, has already contacted an attorney and says he's willing to go to court if BP proves to be too 'Thrifty.'


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