Gas station unknowingly serves sewage and fuel cocktail after heavy rain

At the gas station Viada on Lubānas Street, rain caused an incident in August that resulted in eight car owners, unknowingly, pouring not 95-type gasoline into their cars, but a mix of it with wastewater. Several cars were permanently damaged, but the battle to repair the cars and pay the costs has taken weeks, Latvian Television's 4. studija reported October 6.

The company only noticed the accident in the fuel tank after several engines stalled at the gas station. The moment also set off Sigita Veide's relentless battle with the company, as she wanted her new car repaired to the quality it had been before entering the fatal gas station.

“I filled the tank with gasoline, drove to the store, and then the car went silent on me. I couldn't start it, and I took it with a transporter to “Mūsa motors,” which is an authorized dealer,” Sigita began the story, whose car – a 2019 “Dacia Duster” with a 5-year warranty in effect – was damaged at the Viada gas station.

Car dealers were initially unable to understand how the engine could have water inside. “Sent photographs to the manufacturer and within four days they pumped their contents out of the tank and, it turns out, it's only half gasoline,” Sigita explained.

Sigita went looking for explanations from Viada. A couple of days later, she received confirmation that an insurer would be dealing with the case in the future.

The woman breathed a sigh of relief until the problem became too expensive and uncomfortable for the insurer – they no longer responded to Sigita's calls. Sigita once again wrote a claim to Viada, but there was no answer. Later she wrote an e-mail to the chairman of the company's board of directors – then Sigita' was suddenly heard again, and a rental car was granted to her for a month.

Meanwhile, the insurer has been delayed with the answer of whether it will fund Sigita's car engine replacement. The cost of the work has been calculated – at least EUR 11,000.

She believes that if Viada's insurer disagrees with the costs or cannot agree, it is Viada's responsibility and that the company should bear the losses. “The car has been standing for five weeks. I think irreversible rust processes have already started there and nothing will be helped with a cleaning, rinsing,“ the woman added.

Viada acknowledged that due to the rain, the 95 gasoline tank had been contaminated with water – there was a damaged seal on the fuel tank cover, which reduced airtightness, explained Kaspars Tupiņš, marketing manager of JSC “Viada Baltija”.

Viada was approached by eight customers who had filled their cars with a cocktail of fuel and sewage. In total, the insurer has to pay compensation of 28 thousand euros.

“A minimal amount of water got in the tank so only eight customers unfortunately were in this situation. Which we as a company also apologize for,” Tupiņš said, adding that this type of damage is very rare.

In five cases, the insurer immediately confirmed the cost amounts, but Sigita and two other car owners the issue hung in the air for a while.

Tupiņš said that in Sigita's case, the service estimate the insurer has received equates to the value of the car. The insurer allegedly offered to buy back the car but the customer refused.

“In addition, I can add that we see without waiting for the insurers' decision that it took a long period of time and the customer repeatedly approached us with a request to help. We have paid the full-service bill for this case,” Tupiņš said.

Viada said the fuel and water cocktail had been pumped out of the tank and disposed of.

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