Wheels Goes Round And Round

You and I pump our gas. We pay. We may or may not take our receipt. We leave.

The photo below is as ordinary as it gets:

Wheels gas pump

But you and I are not Mary Ann West.

Look closely. On Tuesday Last Saturday she pumped 3.473 gallons of regular gas. At 2.43 9/10 a gallon, that’s $8.47.

Even if she’d bought super — which she did not — the bill would be $9.79.

Yet Wheels on the Post Road, next to Torno Hardware, charged her $10.

Mary Ann is nobody’s fool. Both the principle and the pennies meant a lot to her.

CT Department of Consumer ProtectionShe complained to the state Department of Consumer Protection. Yesterday — just 4 days later — an inspector visited the Wheels station.

He could not replicate the problem. But he ordered the manager to submit all of Saturday’s receipts. The inspector will check  each one.

Mary Ann gets a full refund.

And Wheels gets a black eye.

NOTE: Every gas pump in the state has a Department of Weights and Measure sticker, with an 800 number to call if a customer believes the pump is measuring incorrectly. Every pump must also have a sticker indicating when it was last checked for correct calibration. If you see a pump without that information: beware!

18 responses to “Wheels Goes Round And Round

  1. Harris M. Falk

    That’s a very precise round number.
    Was the pump set by the clerk to dispense $10 of gas? Was anyone else getting gas at the time? Did the clerk enter in the wrong pump number? Did Mary Ann speak with anyone at Wheels, or did she go directly to DCP?

    • Do the math. $10 of gas does not equal the amounts shown for the prices listed — not even for premium.

      • Harris M. Falk

        I understand the math.
        However, the pump can be set to dispense fuel based upon a set amount of money. If the pump was set from inside the station to do this, it would have given gas until the $10 worth of fuel was dispensed.
        Was her card actually charged?
        Again, did Mary Ann speak to anyone working there, or did she just immediately go to DCP?

        • Harris, $10 worth of gas would have dispensed more than 3.473 gallons of fuel. Don’t you understand?

          And yes, her card was charged — that’s why she got a refund. I believe she did complain first, and got no response, before going to the DCP.

          • Harris M. Falk

            It would have dispensed until the nozzle shut off because the tank was full or the $10 was used up. Don’t you understand?

          • Harris M. Falk

            She paid cash.
            She did ask for $10 of gas.
            The pump has been tested by the inspector and the anomaly cannot be replicated.
            Occam’s razor. A splash made the trigger think it was full and no attempt was made to fill the car further or the pump would not allow it.

            Let’s not claim Wheels was trying to intentionally commit fraud.

  2. Chip Stephens - Staples 73

    She hit the wrong grade button premium 2.819 x 3.473 = 10
    I have done it in a rush myself

  3. Mary (Cookman) Schmerker Staples 1958

    Thanks Dan. Buyer be aware… alert. Check those receipts . It can happen anywhere and does.

  4. Mary Ann West

    Dan had seen this on my FB page, it happened on Saturday, I very purposefully request a receipt, even for a small cash purchase (yes, I’m cheap that way). I know the amount is small beans, but driving in I knew $10 would purchase 4.1 gallons. I was in a rush to get the just needed few gallons to get me through the day.

    Very purposefully I hit the 87-grade fuel, I did not make a mistake. Immediately I informed the cashier of the issue, left my name and contact information for the manager and took a picture of the pump display. Manager #2 claims he was not aware that there had been a problem.

    The real question is: how many people even notice or mentally add up how many gallons are purchased?

    I was impressed that my complaint with Consumer Protection was answered so quickly (CC’d to Wheels Corporate HQ) The Inspector told me they had a choice; they could either give me my $10 back or pay a $250 fine. He was not able to replicate the problem four days later.

    And yes, he was going to go over that day’s receipts one by one to check for other problems.

    When I went in the manager said he wasn’t authorized to give cash. Fine, I left my business card after he pushed back as to why I hadn’t called him first. I thought that is why I left my name and number on Saturday.

    • Harris M. Falk

      Just to be clear. You asked for $10 of gas (4.1 gal), the pump gave you 3.473 gallons. And, that wasn’t because your tank was full?

      No matter what, the manager should have gotten back to you.

      • Mary Ann West

        My tank was close to empty, and even if it hadn’t been, the pump would have stopped at whatever gas/ $$ amount was charged, more than once at other stations I have had to go in for a partial refund when the total sale is less than what I have given. And maybe that was the issue, I paid cash.

        • Harris M. Falk

          The pump would stop when the $ amount is reached or the tank is full, or a splash onto the nozzle makes it think that the tank is full.

          Still, bad customer service.

  5. Jack Whittle

    I have a habit of pausing the pump at 10 gallons when I’m filling my truck, which allows me to do an easy spot-check on the pump’s math (my Westport education taught me how to move the decimal point to the right when multiplying by 10). Although I’ve never encountered an anomaly like this.

    • Bob Cooper

      My first thought when I read this was some sort of built in setting for “minimum purchase $10” – any chance of that?

  6. I got gas at a station on Post Road Tuesday evening. Think it was Citgo. THOUGHT it said $2.55 (?) a gallon and only after it started pumping did I notice it said $3.55. Holy %#&*! A man there pumped it for me so supposedly full service but even then…got almost nothing for my $20 worth. I hadn’t been able to get gas earlier so it was low but I STILL wish I’d made it to one of the other stations further down Post Road (toward Fairfield)

    Please be on the lookout for this.