BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) -When Stephanie Abramovici stopped by Circle K in north Boulder last Wednesday, she had no idea it would cost her $3,300. Then again, she didn’t know the unleaded pumps had been contaminated with diesel.
“I filled up my tank all the way, and about half a mile away, my car just stalled out at a busy intersection,” said Abramovici.
She has four children with a fifth on the way, and her husband is out of town. The incident brought her to tears.
“The kids are in the car. People are honking at me…”
Her car was undriveable.
“I have seen people accidentally fill their gas tanks with diesel or their diesel cars with gas, but I’ve never seen it happen where it’s the fault of the station itself,” said Will Shiverick, owner of Mountain Auto Repair.
Shiverick says Abramovici was adamant it wasn’t her mistake, so he called Circle K.
“She was 100% sure that she didn’t make the mistake of filling up with diesel, and then finding out that all the pumps were shut down that told me almost certainly that’s what happened,” said Shiverick.
Abramovici says her biggest issue is how long it took Circle K to shut the pumps down.
“They had multiple complaints from people throughout the day, they didn’t shut the pumps off until almost 5 o’clock at night, and I’ve talked to people who called and complained before I pumped my gas,” she said.
Shiverick says while the mix-up isn’t common, it’s hard for the average person to prevent.”Unless you’re really attune to the smell of gas versus diesel, there’s really no way to know,” he said.
Abramovici is one of many people impacted. While she had no way of knowing, the best thing she did following the incident she says was reach out to her community.
“It started off with me making one post on a local group saying ‘Hey did anyone else have this problem?’”
She had so many responses, she created a Facebook group specifically for other victims who filled up with the contaminated gas; it has 53 members so far.
“It’s one thing if it’s one person complaining, and you don’t know other people that are affected, but it’s cool when you have like a group of people because you can’t really ignore them.”
While Circle K didn’t return calls Tuesday. Travelers Insurance says it is processing claims on the company’s behalf. It declined to say how many claims it was currently handling.
In a statement on Tuesday they stated:
Each claim is being evaluated on its own, and we are working closely with the individual claimants on this.
Abramovici says she never anticipated the hardship the mix-up created. She lives up a four-wheel drive road in Jamestown and has been unable to get a rental car.
Tuesday was her first trip out of the house thanks to a friend who loaned her a car for the day.
“Oh my gosh! I am so excited! I finally get to go to the grocery store! I was down to my very last diaper.”
Shiverick says often times the fault lies with the carrier and not the actual gas station.