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LONDON (Reuters) - Tesco apologised on Tuesday to drivers who bought contaminated petrol from its forecourts and promised to pay for any car repairs.
The supermarket chain ran full-page advertisements in national newspapers saying its fuel supplies were back to normal.
Motorists across the country complained that their cars broke down or suffered serious problems after buying petrol from Tesco and several other retailers.
"We'd like to say how sorry we are," Tesco said. "More to the point, we'd like to promise to pay for the repairs.
"We have traced the problem to a batch of unleaded fuel from a storage facility used by one of our suppliers in Essex.
"All the affected stores in the southeast of England have been refuelled with a fresh, clean supply."
It was not clear how many Tesco customers would be eligible to claim compensation or how the process would work.
Typical repair bills will be about 200 pounds, according to reports. The contaminated petrol was traced to storage tanks at a terminal in West Thurrock, Essex, fuel supplier Harvest Energy said on Saturday.
Trading standards officials discovered silicon traces during tests on petrol after they began an inquiry following complaints from motorists.
Silicon cause serious problems in petrol engines, particularly in cars with computerised fuel systems. It can build up as a deposit on sensors, causing them to malfunction.
Consumer Direct, a government-funded advice service, said it had been contacted by more than 2,500 people concerned about possible fuel contamination.
If Tesco's do it then i can't see the others not doing it.
As you say it's all about the image shown to the customer!
Morrisons has made the same promise.
The supermarkets and others involved will no doubt get the money back by claiming it from their fuel suppliers.
Not all makes of cars were affected with Ford and VW models in particular seemingly unaffected.
The motorists involved with likely claims all live in the southern area of the country even though, I'm sure, that some unscrupulous individuals will attempt to make claims no matter where they live...:-)
Stuartli now theres an idea. I live in Scotland, perhaps I could try a claim. Of course the fact I cannot drive and don't own a car might be a slight problem.
I would love to see a breakdown of the makes most affected. I would think it likely that they were mainly Citroen Renault & Peugeot.
In an article on the Daily Telegraph web site on Saturday, Tesco were quoted as saying that if a motorist could prove that their petrol caused the problem, Tesco would pay.
You might well be able to prove you bought Tesco petrol, but Tesco could say you bought contaminated fuel from another retail outlet.
Not quite the "carte blanche" implied in todays Reuters report. We will have to wait and see what happens.
>>I would think it likely that they were mainly Citroen Renault & Peugeot.>>
As has been widely reported, French makes were affected.
In fact Citroen and Peugeot are part of PSA and use the same engines and share common components.
It may not be so easy to get all your money back from Tesco.
The Daily Mail toady reported a case dating back to 2003, when even after a court ruling, they still would not pay up. It was only settled in full when the individual sent in the bailiffs.
Another reported case in 2006, which clearly demonstrates Tesco`s reluctance to pay is quoted in "Which". Again bailiffs had to be called in.
Daily Mail toady: should read:
Daily Mail today
As from a week last Monday, Tesco changed its refund's policy. This as nothing to do with the fuel issue, but thought that this information may be of some use.
Being overcharged for items, you now get less rewards for bringing the matter to the attention of Tesco's.
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