Tesco's Dirty Fuel Keeps on Damaging Cars! ~ Tesco-Complaint

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Tesco's Dirty Fuel Keeps on Damaging Cars!

I filled my '98 2.3 ZETEC Galaxy up to the brim with £55.31 of TESCO's finest regular unleaded at 10.51 on the morning of the 15th February. (I have the receipts AND my bank statement, so there's no getting away from it!).

Just about halfway through the tank, I noticed that I was getting a little hesitation on the motorway and the drive was lumpy during town driving. As the tank got lower and lower, the problem became increasingly worse. I also noticed that flooring the throttle would eliminate the problem, but we can't drive at full throttle all the time can we?

At the beginning of this week (26/02/2007), I called my mechanic and explained what the symptoms were. I suggested it might be a fuel starvation issue (blockage/fuel pump) because of the hesitation but he suggested that it might be a sticky inlet butterfly valve or a gummed up sensor. He told me to put some injector cleaner in the tank and try it for a couple of days to see what happened. If it didn't improve, he would come over with his diagnostic kit. I did as he suggested but the problem became progressively worse as the fuel level dropped.

As the news broke in the media yesterday, I paid carefully atttention the symptoms; "misfiring and juddering", "losing power". 'This sounds familiar...' I thought. I spoke again to my mechanic who suggested the best thing to do would be to completely fill the tank up with 'good brand' fuel to dilute the residue.

I did this and immediately took the car for a 40 mile motorway blast to clear out the 1 to 2 litres of pure TESCO filth that I knew would remain in the delivery system (pipes, filter, fuel pump, injector pressure manifold, etc). The engine was better behaved, but still was a bit lumpy. This morning I drove to work and the difference was marked; only a slight hesitation when cold and virtually no power drops on the motorway. I reported to my mechanic and he told me that I might have got away with it. I called up Ford and got them to put aside a Lambda sensor for me 'just in case'. I decided the drive home would be the acid test; it was much better still! Slight hesitation at first pull away, no power dip on the motorway. So it seems I may be lucky. I called Ford and cancelled the hold on the sensor, just in case some other poor unfortunate needs it. Hopefully the repeated heating/cooling cycles of the sensor will help to clean it up further still, if the Lambda sensor requires changing in the next 1000 miles, I know who to blame!

As for registering a complaint, I called my local Trading Standards Office and they told me they had been instructed to refer everyone to Consumer Direct (www.consumerdirect.gov.uk - 08454 040506). I called them and was held on hold for 20 minutes as they are swamped with complaints. They took all my details and where and when I bought the petrol. They will then pass my complaint on to the local Trading Standards Office who will then contact me.

I just hope that my full tank of Shell will clean everything up nicely. What I find most disgusting though, is TESCOs/Greenergy's total refusal to take responsibility for this mess. Clearly this is not a coincidence. Clearly, not everyone suddenly decides 'You know what, I think I might put my car in for a service/Lambda replacement for a couple of days, use public transport instead and pay a bill of between £150 to £1000 and HOPE that I get compensation from TESCO.' That would be ridiculous, but apparently TESCOs/Greenergy seem to believe that they are the victims of some kind of conspiracy!

The official line coming from TESCOs/Greenergy is that their fuel conforms with BS EN 228 (the standard for Ultra Low Sulphur Unleaded Petrol). That may be the true. However I have read BS EN 228 (and you can too: LINK )and the standard makes no mention of an upper or lower limit for either Ethanol or Silicon, the two suspected contaminents of your fuel.

Message to TESCO/Greenergy:

Wake up and smell the coffee Tesco (especially you Jon Church!)
YOU sold us the dirty fuel.
YOU damaged our vehicles.
It is YOU we hold responsible.
The longer YOU hold out on telling us the truth, the harder will be your PR exercise.
I would suggest YOUR reputation as a fuel retailer is already damaged beyond repair.
It's a bitter pill, but it's time to swallow it.
Admit liability, take the rap, 'fess up homies.
If not, I will obtain approximately 60 litres (1 sack) of my local bovine fecal detritus and deposit it in the filling station where you sold me the same volume of your filth.
One good turn deserves another, I always say.

Yours, Mark Garner

Tesco-Complaint: Thank you Mark and Deborah for an informative and well written complaint and also for exposing Tesco's devious spin on this issue - instilling false confidence by quoting British Standards when they are patently irrelevant as they do not deal with the suspected contaminants.


TM said...

" 'fess up homies "'

What a TW@T, and only complete c^nts drive Ford Galaxys!

tesco-complaint said...

Tesco Manager, Your masked swearing in the above post is unacceptable to many of our readers and we have recently received several emails asking us to address this issue.

We are reluctant to censor any comments because we do not believe in censorship. Furthermore, as seen on previou occasions, for a Tesco Manager to call customers "tw-ts and c-nts" goes to show the attitude and professionalism of this individual as well as showing what other Tesco Managers are like and thus why Tesco provides such poor customer service. On the other hand, like Shilpa Shetty, we do believe in good manners and would like to encourage that in others.

Unless we receive a flood of genuine criticism against censorship by email,in future when we see swearing, bad language or racism, masked or not, we will delete the entire comment. We have not got the resources to edit such comments.

Please note we don't read all comments and therefore if you notice any infringing comments please email to report them to us.

Anonymous said...

It's not tescos fault, its the suppler suppling the fuel to all supermarket petrol stations.

Mark Ganer said...

Yes that's right, it's not TESCO's fault, it's their supplier, Greenergy.

If you would care to read here ( http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/greenergy%5B1%5D.doc ) you will find that TESCO is a 25% stakeholder in Greenergy.

Furthermore, despite Greenergy's enviromental claims, their methods of obtaining 'biofuel' has been linked to deforestation in South East Asia and South America AND has therefore also been quoted as being a threat to biodiversity.

If I had known this before, I would never have graced their forecourt...

TM said...

Tesco-Complaint, I am not at work now, so no one posting on here is any customer of mine. SO if i call someone a tw@t or c^nt, thats my own business.

tesco-complaint said...

TM (Tesco Manager) Please make sure that the above comment is the last time you or your aliases use masked swearing. Thank you.

Mark, Well done for revealing that Tesco own 25% of Greenergy - if you have any more useful info please keep us informed and make another post! And of course under the laws of this land the strongest legal nexus is not between customer and greenergy but customer and retailer .

TM said...

Yes Mark, well done!

Al said...

At first I believed that these were isolated incidents (with the first two complaints on this site) which may have arisen from human error. However, now with the recent deluge of complaints and news coverage I know otherwise.

While Tesco may not be directly responsible for the contaminated fuel they have a duty to their customers to be open and honest about the situation. Lying about the number of complaints (which I suspect they have been, although there is no solid evidence of this) and quoting meaningless fuel standards helps nobody. Tesco should, at the very least, be offering compensation to those affected.

I find it interesting that despite all of the complaints and media coverage they are still selling the fuel. Unless they have had each site rigourously tested then they are being extremely irresponsible by selling fuel which they know may be contaminated. It will be interesting to see how quiet Tesco and Morrisons (lets not forget that they're involved too) PFS sites become over the next few days.

TM said...

I think at this stage it's a little premature to start discussing compensation untill the whole issue has been investigated properly.

It would certainly take months to finally receive compensation and think about all the people trying to make all sorts of false claims when it wasn't down to the fuel.

Tim said...

Hang on Tesco-complaint,

Since when have the postings of an anonymous person on a public international website constituted proof that all Tesco managers are unprofessional? Seriously, even for this website that is a little too tedious a link. It's the views of an individual. Not a company.

Do you understand that, or do i need to reduce it words of one syllable for you?

TM said...

Thanks Tim. Someone intelligent at last! I have been making this point for some time now. I make posts on this site just like anyone else, irrespective of my job.

My comments are my own views, and do not change with the job I do.

Mark G said...


Well, here's the proof, where's the apology then?

Checked here http://tesco.com & here http://www.greenergy.com/1024_768.html

'Your silence is very reassuring.'

The clock has started ticking, are we starting a book on how long before the homies 'fess up?

I say Tuesday, 6th March.

Any takers?

TM said...

Why do you keep using the term "homies", are you some kind of street kid or a black youth?

Marky G in Da Howz said...

"Gone fishin'........."


Anonymous said...

"On the other hand, like Shilpa Shetty, we do believe in good manners and would like to encourage that in others."

In that case Tesco's complaint why do you only bring this up to people who defend/work for Tesco and have not commented in the same way on any posts where people have used language like that to critisize Tesco?

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Mark can drive. From his maturity at the bottom I recon he's about 3.

TM said...

Well like I said, he probably drives like a complete [....] as do most idiots in MPVs.

Mark G said...

Good to see you are so abusive still, just shows the amount of regard you have for customers with a genuine complaint....

Now, about all the silicon that was confirmed in your fuel? Like to comment on how everyone 'is an idiot' for buying it? Or would you like to explain why TESCO were still selling contaminated fuel, in the face of overwhelming evidence, knowing that they were probably damaging more cars before withdrawing the fuel?

If that is the level of concern for the public that TESCO's corporate level take, no wonder they are happy to employee rude, ill-educated morons like yourself to run their stores.

BTW, still no sign of anything resembling an official apology.

Sir Henry Morgan said...



Last night tests from Tesco, Asda and Cambridgeshire County Council had found contamination of silicon in unleaded fuel - seen as the most likely cause of the problems. Morrisons said it was conducting tests this weekend, and Total expects its test results tomorrow.


A spokesman for Morrisons, Britain's fourth biggest supermarket chain, said if contamination was found it would expect customers to claim compensation. 'Obviously if we're found to have supplied contaminated fuel to our customers, that's our responsibility,' he said. 'We'll do the right thing by our customers.'

A Tesco spokesman said: 'If customers' cars have been damaged as a result of filling up at Tesco, we'll pay for that.' Several car insurers have already said they will pay out on claims where there is evidence of damage by the faulty fuel.


read it all.

I note that only Morrison's has used the " ... our responsibility ..." phrase. And they are correct: regardless of who is responsible upstream, to the customer the retailer is responsible. tm - nobody thinks Tesco made the petrol, but everybody KNOWS the retailer carries responsibility to the customer.

It is very bad PR to force customers to resort to court. In the long run, it will do the retailers less damage financially to just settle up. Morrison's, at least, seems to have realised this.

I don't even have a car.

Regarding the preserves story above: I find it very difficult to work up any sympathy for the customer. Being disappointed is hardly cause for a refund. I've been disappointed with plenty of stuff over the years - you just don't buy it again.

TM said...

Mark G,

I am going to say this once more. My comments and views are my own, (including my insults) They are not that of Tesco. You are not a customer to me, unless of course you walk into my store and I have the misfortune of dealing with you. However this is very unlikey as I don't work in a service area but in store systems dept.

I would not comment as freely as I do at work as I do on this website.

This website is just as much my opportunity as it is yours to air your views on Tesco. However, I am just commented from the other perspective.

Sir Henry, Tesco have not denied any responsiblity, lets just wait and see before jumping to conclusions. This whole situation needs to be handled correctly, not just rushing in before the facts are clear, handing out thousands of pounds to the world and his wife with no questions asked.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear.

Tesco supplies the fuel. So all this bashing is pretty pointless, huh?

Tesco didn't decide to add silicon to the petrol.

However, if it can be proven with a mechanics report that it was silcon contaminated petrol that has damaged your engine, then provided you have proof of purchase...I'm pretty damn confident you will get a refund at the least.

Anonymous said...

A month ago i got my car hit by a trolley in my local tescos carpark. Which happened while i was leaving the carpark it blew across and hit my bumper which left a deep cut into the bumper through the paint work. Well i was a tad fed up to say the least. I stormed to the customer service desk and explained what had happened. They said this was the third one today (OHH lucky me do i get some club card points!!!). They printed me a car damage reciept with all my details on and said someone will contact me soon. Well that was the 18th march and i got a letter off them today say that it was not there fault the so called (trolley team) where working as they should but thanks for letting us know about this. What a bunch of Wankers!!! I was straight on the phone today but was told that it was company Policy not to pay for the repair which i replied well thats the last Tescos will see of me (which i guess did not really bother her too much). So why could they have not told me this at the local store on the 18th march instead of waiting over a month, as well as loads of phone calls to them to see whats going on. WELL IT SHOWS HOW MUCH THEY GIVE A SHIT OF THE CUSTOMERS, ROT IN HELL TESCOS!!! :(

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Anonymous said...

Just to give my 2 sense worth. Tesco's petrol possibly finished off my 2004 Avensis. Every time we filled with petrol from Tesco's, the engine light came on and the car started to judder. We would fill up with Shell (High Octane) and it would disappear and run smooth. We took it to a garage, and they said it was a dirty fuel injector. Maybe the Tesco's was tipping it over the edge ?? We scrapped that car as it needed new gearbox also, and bought a Passat with only 29,000 on the clock and a full Volkswagen service history. Ran great for a year on Shell High Octane Diesel. The first time we put in Tesco's Diesel in an emergency, the engine light came on. Took it to our Garage and he said the injectors were faulty. (Just as my year warranty ran out). As you all probably know, this is v expensive. Now I am sure Tesco's could not do this with one fill up, but it is a coincidence that the one time we fill up the engine light comes on. Its probably more likely to do with Volkswagen fitting cheaper injectors on their cars, but again, did Tesco's tip it over the edge? I have lost my trust in their petrol regardless of whether their petro conforms to British standards.

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