Contaminated Fuel Issue from United Bass Hill Servo

Filled full tank of U91 (36L) up from United servo in Bass Hill, not even 300-400 metres the car shutdown. Called a mobile mechanic over and diagnosed the issue and found that there is water in the fuel and all over the fuel pump. He confirmed the issue by removing a hose that connects to the engine and the liquid in the hose had no smell of fuel and was just water.

I went back to the station with my receipt and spoke to the owner which I advised him of what has happened. He did not have a friendly approach and did not want to work with me and said "I'll get my lawyer and you get your lawyer and I'll see you in court" and kept on making excuses that it could be another fault or the mechanic is not qualified. Mechanic said it's going to cost about $2300 to clean out and repairs and advised my tank is literally filled with water (see attached videos)

What would the next steps be taken in order to get reimbursed? Fair trading?
Appreciate your help people

Edit: got an offical quote from mechanic of $1700 and start work Monday. Unable to get in touch with owner after waiting in shop for 30mins in morning and calling servo in the arvo and staff dunno when he comes in

Edit: Submitted mechanic report and receipt to head office in Victoria and got a call from station owner advising that he will cover all the costs involved as water was in the fuel from my tank. Close to 50% of water was found in my tank after filling up from there!!
Thank you everyone that has helped and always have them receipts on hand.

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United Petroleum
United Petroleum


  • +9

    Lawyer. Would be easy as you won’t be the only one

    • Nothing is easy when it comes to proving anything
      How do you know OP wasnt the only one

      • +4

        Sorry to read about your situation OP especially so close to Christmas!!

        Go to Office of Fair Trading, United Petroleum and get a Stat Dec. from the mechanic.

        If it is malicious, you might need a Mike Ross for this. If station owner has done this to OP, there will be others who've had the same problem - i.e. customer before you. TV Series Lawyer in me thinks they'll subpoena video footage and find other witnesses followed by a class action lawsuit but meh that's prime TV.

        It could also be a case of mistaken shipment and grumpy owner. Then show the evidence you have, inform them politely of the problem and let them know it could be a lot worse than it is, and to find a mutually good way to handle the cost of repairs (and stop other motorists filling up the affected 91.)

        • +6

          Thank you. I submitted everything I had to United HQ and the station owner has contacted me today to advise that he will take care of all the costs of repairs as there was water in the fuel

      • I’ve read further notes from the OP and i personally think it’s not the servo that’s the issue. If water went into the pump it is highly likely to be more than one person broken down throughout the day

    • +1

      Thanks for that

    • -2

      Also states how difficult it is to get the station to admit fault and to get anything out of them

      • +1

        Noticed that you seem to like to post incoherent comments just for the sake of posting or trolling or both. Well done and Merry Christmas hugs

        • -2

          Poor moo moo

          Cannot be bothered to read the article and calls me a troll for pointing out something in the article that poor Moo Moo doesnt agree with.
          Well I did not post the article nor did I wrote it.

          Im just quoting from it.
          Suggest you change your ways for the New year

          • +1

            @Amayzingone: hugs aww. Little tantrum from the amazing one. Why dont you throw a few more tantrums. It will make you look tougher. Happy new year mate.

  • +3

    How many other cars were broken down around the service station?

    all over the fuel pump

    There was water on the outside of the fuel pump?

    You filled up with 36 litres. Is that about what your were expecting?

    $2300 seems a lot but I'm not qualified. What is the car make and model?

    • I do not know & didn't see any, I basically filled up and left, the issue happened, went back to report it and was pushed back
      Correct, car is full at the 36L mark.
      It's a toyota corolla 2008 hatchback model

      • So the tank was already 1/3 full when you filled up?

        Can or has the mechanic separated the fuel from the water in the tank to see how much water was in there?

        • Nope. The petrol light lit up. Tank was literally empty. As I said I filled up a full tank.
          The mechanic has advised there is a fair bit of water as shown in the video attached. (Its currently being worked on, so I will ask him to get a sample in a jar or something)

          • @Petya:

            Tank was literally empty.

            It's a 55 litre tank and it filled up with 36 litres?

            • -2

              @MS Paint: Correct, made the click sound when filling up
              I'm after some advice here buddy

              • +6

                @Petya: They're trying to figure out the whole story to help.

                2008 Corolla's fuel tank is ~50 litres.
                You said you filled up 36 litres and went full tank.
                So there was 50-36 = ~14 litres of something in the car then.

                It might actually not be the fuel station fault and could be another issue. Maybe. Maybe not.

                Also, check if your insurance covers 'misfuelling', sometimes they do.

                • +8

                  @Hybroid: My dual cab Navara has an 80L tank but once the fuel light comes on I’m only able to get 65L at the bowser. Some cars have a big emergency reserve.

                  • @Bap1337: Same mines 60L tank but when Fuel Low light comes on only fills like 45-50

                • +6

                  @Hybroid: just like to point out I have a 2013 Corolla hatchback and have never been able to get the tank to fill up to its said capacity. I know according to the specs it's a 50L tank, but whenever I fill it up when it's near empty (petrol light comes on), the most I've ever got in is 36L.

                  • @cantthinkofone: Your tank was not completely empty, if you filled 36L and it was full then you had close to 14L in the tank. All cars will have the light come up and the dial at empty when there are a few liters left in the tank (most likely 15L in you car), to give people enough warning to avoid getting stuck on an empty tank. Ask taxi drivers, they always drive with their dial in negative, they know how many liters they have left and how long it will get them just by experience.

        • -3

          Corolla has approx 44 litre tank.

          • +1

            @82norm: Check any 2008 Corolla - All 55L tanks

            Don't spread misinformation.

            • -1

              @spackbace: But it doesn't fill up 55L, Never have I ever filled up past 36 or 37L

              • +10

                @Petya: That's because you've never run it empty. Fuel light doesn't mean you only have 1L left or something.

                • -5

                  @spackbace: Even though the dashboard shows there's 4km left to the tank………..

                  • +5

                    @Petya: Yep.

                    Again, you've never run it empty. I don't know why that's difficult to comprehend. Every car has a fuel light which doesn't come on when the tank is empty, they have to allow leeway

                    • @spackbace: Spackbace is correct. There was this one time when I was driving my old Maxima on God knows what for about 12 KMs as the console was displaying 0KM of range left (long story, don't ask) with the amount of fuel left in the tank. It was the most tense 12 KMs I've ever driven, but the thing thankfully took me to the bowser as I was wondering if it's running on thin air.

                      • +1

                        @CocaKoala: Yep, there's a popular thing called "Fuel Light Roulette" in this industry, given how often cars pop up with fuel light, and you see if you can make it to your destination.

                        • +1

                          @spackbace: My Mum took a car for a test drive with the dealer once and it ran out of fuel. The dealer started reading his paper waiting for another guy to turn up with some. He realised he had lost the sale.

                  • +2

                    @Petya: Wow. This is accurate 0% if the time. After my pathfinder reported 0km remaining I used to drive another 150km then fill up, with 4l still remaining in the tank.

                    The capacity of the tank is a known and published figure. You are putting nowhere near this into your car, ergo, the tank is nowhere near empty.

                    • +1

                      @brendanm: When I was young cars had no fuel warning lights, you just had to remember how far below the E the needle could go before you ran out of gas. Also reset the speedo when you fill up and keep track of the km's.

                      I would often put $10 in and the needle would still be below the E haha

                  • @Petya: The km remaining is very approximate, as I found out when I ran out of fuel with "31 km remaining". Dealer said it was within expected range / tolerance.
                    My previous car I drove twice with 0 km remaining.

                    • +1

                      @bmerigan: Thanks for that, you learn something new everyday. Didn't know that

                    • -1

                      @bmerigan: I would be very pissed if the car says 31L remaining and it runs empty, that's like half the tank for some cars, I would expect the light to come on early, or very early, but not late, I don't think that is "tolerable"!

  • +4

    Report the contamination directly to United Petroleum. (03) 9413 1400

    • +1

      Will do, I have written to them already

  • +2

    This happened before to my father's previous car. It started blowing smoke and spluttering after filling the tank at an independent petrol station. The car got towed and the mechanic said that the fuel was contaminated. Given it was an older vehicle, we knew it would be very difficult to prove, if not, impossible. We were already thinking about getting a new car, so we cut our losses and just got a new car.

    There's a lot of talk here about petrol prices and how all the fuel comes from the same refineries etc so it's all the same blah blah. While that's true, no-one knows what happens at the individual stations. So for many years now, I don't care what anyone says - I just stick to the big three fuel chains even if they're more expensive than independent stations.

  • +7

    You could always spice things up sending this story to 7 News or ACA lol

    • +5

      Headline: you won't believe what happened to this ozbargainer driving a Toyota.

      • yes they wouldn't believe it

      • +1

        Are always this funny?

    • +65


  • +9

    Interesting article: Motorist sold contaminated fuel by Caltex Woolworths, wins NCAT case

    Don't let them get away with it, OP!

    • damnnnn, nuts
      Will do

    • Forgot to mention, I have reported it, thanks for that

  • +2

    A similar situation occurred at a BP service station in Hobart a couple of months ago, diesel ended up in the unleaded 91 fuel supply, and dozens of people were affected:

    BP has confirmed fuel sold at its Lindisfarne site was “off-specification due likely to an incorrect delivery”.

    An investigation was launched on Friday following multiple reports of cars breaking down after owners had filled up with unleaded 91 fuel.

    Complaints included cars shuddering, blowing black smoke, losing power or stopping completely.

    A BP spokeswoman yesterday said the unleaded 91 and diesel pumps would remain closed until the contaminated fuel had been removed from the underground tanks.

    “Incidents like this are rare and we’re really sorry it has happened,” she said.

    The 95 and Ultimate 98 fuels were not affected.

    Impacted customers are encouraged to phone 1300 130 027 during business hours.

    To submit a claim as part of the BP fuels guarantee, customers will need to provide their fuel receipt and take their car to a licensed mechanic to diagnose the issue.

    • will need to provide their fuel receipt

      Damn. I never get a receipt.

      • A bank statement with the purchase on it should be proof that you purchased fuel at a location during the affected period.

        • -5

          Cash only

  • +1

    Servo operator would have had others reporting contaminated fuel as well. His response did not reflect that.
    How far had you driven to where you filled up? Just wondering if someone may have put water in your tank?

    • Left my home to go to servo which 3km and 5mins.
      Did not go anywhere else before that

  • Can your insurance company help? (I have no idea, but there might be a Suitable clause in the PDS)

    • +1


      • +1

        Same thing happened to me 5 years ago with an independent Caltex. My insurance covered the cost of repairs which was $3500.

  • +11

    I would have bought a jerry can and taken a fuel sample on the spot as proof.

    • The whole sample is in my tank. My tank was empty prior to filling up

      • +4

        36l is not a full tank, and means your tank was no where near empty.

        • -6

          I wonder what the yellow light means next to the fuel gauge then?

          • +1

            @Petya: Low fuel. Or in this case, "1/3 of tank remaining light".

      • +1

        Stop saying it was empty. It wasn't

        • +2

          Honestly what difference does it make? They put in nearly 75% of their tanks capacity, it's not like they put in 1 or 2 litres.

          • -6

            @Nebargains: A massive difference. Op didn't notice a hundred other cars on the side of the road, took no sample straight from the pump, and had a heap of "fuel" left in his car. For all we know, he took the window washer refill watering can and poured it straight into the tank.

            • +14

              @brendanm: Why would Op just make all this up?

              Drove 5km to the station without any problems, filled their tank and 300-400m further down the road break down, seems like the new fuel to me.

              Why must ozbargain be so cynical and assume that op is some sort of criminal mastermind trying to commit some kind of fraud?

              Logically the fuel they just put in is the issue.

              • @Nebargains: Logically, if it was the servo, every other car that filled up there would also be broken down. The servo would also be shut while they pumped thousands of litres of contaminated fuel out of the tank.

                I'm cynical because I'm a mechanic and have seen similar things to this lots of times. "It was fine before I did X, therefore it must be X". Correlation is not causation. Getting a sample straight from the pump would have been extremely easy and logical.

            • @brendanm: Bruhhh for you to think, you must have done that. Why the hell would someone pour water straight into the tank??? Check the cameras and get back to us

              • -5

                @Petya: No, I haven't done that, I assumed it would be something someone who assumes 36l is a full tank in a corolla would do.

                What cameras?

                Good luck with your compensation, let us know how it goes, I wager, not very well.

                • +3

                  @brendanm: Assumed wrong. Good thing I had an excellent mechanic as he wrote a report up, submitted it with the sample petrol that was in tank, with the receipt, and the station and head office has gotten back to me 1hr ago and advised they are covering all the repair costs & admitted that is water in the fuel from the sample.

                  • @Petya: There were obviously lots of people with the same issue then, hence people asking if others were broken down as well.

                    • @brendanm: Incorrect. Was not told others were affected, just me

                      • @Petya: Ok then. You must have been very unlucky and sucked up the one bit of contaminated fuel in the tank.

                        • @brendanm: How about an apology to the OP for being a douchebag and of being zero help apart from being cynical and an arm chair critic?

                          • +2

                            @dji1111111: Not likely, with the info provided it looked like bs. There were obviously others with the same issue. I'm also not an armchair critic.

                            • @brendanm: BS. Ohh my, nothing helpful comes out of you just false assumptions. Contact United and ask about my case since its all BS. But again you wont

                              • -2

                                @Petya: Contact a school and ask for comprehension lessons. I said "with the info provided it looked like bs". As I said, it obviously happened to plenty of other vehicles.

                                • @brendanm: But it obviously didnt happen to other vehicles as United advised. Why assuming? I was the only one affected. Why can't that be understood??? Hard to comprehend?? What ingo is missing for you to understand? Again contact United and ask since it looks BS

                                  • @Petya: How is it physically possible for your car to be the only one affected, when all the fuel is pumped from one tank? That is what can't be understood. Unless you were the only one to fill up at that servo between the time the fuel became contaminated, and the time it took for them to rectify the contamination, it is physically impossible for your car to be the only one affected.

                                    I don't know what an ingo is, but all the question marks sure aren't helping.

                                    • @brendanm: Typo, meant to say info. Again contact United about the case and ask what exactly happened as you do not believe it and looks BS. Open up your own personal investigation case and let everyone know. I am telling you what United have told me…..

                                      • @Petya: Then united are bullshitting you. I can't contact them and ask about it if I wanted to, as they wouldn't tell me. Even if they did, they would simply lie. There is BS from somewhere, as it logically does not make sense.

                                        • @brendanm: So united are BS and im BS and you're not and the most logical out of all. Get facts, not assumptions & help out not just criticise.

                                          • +1

                                            @Petya: No, I said one of the two is BS. Their is no "most logical of all". I am going off the facts I have, and am not actually criticising.

      • -5

        It could be that you pumped 36L of petrol and rest water. The pump measuring mechanism may not have picked the water and that is why it charged you for 36L. I am guessing.

        • +2

          It measures any fluid, it has no idea what fluid it is.

    • +1

      you would also need something to seal it with - like a roll of duct tape - sign and date the seal

      take timestamped photos of the station, the pump, the jerry being filled, and the seal

      and very handy would be a witness or two who can corroborate all of it

    • +1

      Are you always ready for an apocalypse? Carries a Jerry can with him everywhere

      • Who doesn’t? #shouldhaveboughtajeep I also thought that some petrol stations sell jerry cans?

  • +2

    Were there multiple other cars broken down 100m down the road? If not, it's likely not the service issue. Go back and pump some fuel into a container as a sample.

    Edit - also $2300 to sick out the fuel and possibly replace the pump and filter? Much too high.

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