Possible to dispute diesel damages on Gas car or claim credit card collision damage waiver insurance?

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Sep 17, 2018
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#1
Alamo just informed me that the reason why the car I rented broke down a week ago was because I put diesel in it. I was obviously shocked because I try to be careful and go for "Regular". Perhaps I was distracted and we happened to be in an old gas station in Upstate NY. I haven't driven in a long time and am more used to diesel being on the right or of a certain color that I may overlooked but I remember telling myself to always go for Regular when renting a gas car. The nozzle also fit fine so that didn't alert me of any issue.

In any case, I'm expecting a 4-5 digit bill from Alamo to come very soon. I wanted to ask whether it's something I could dispute/negotiate, and whether the Mastercard insurance I used (declining the CDW of the rental company) can cover it.

It says it covers:
- Reasonable loss of use charges imposed by the vehicle rental company for the period of time the rental vehicle is out of service.
- Towing charges to the nearest collision repair facility.

It does not cover:
- Mechanical failures caused by wear and tear, gradual deterioration, or mechanical breakdown.
- Subsequent damages resulting from a failure to protect the rental vehicle from further damage.

I'm really worried about this. :(

Your responses would be much appreciated! Thanks!
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,875
13,291
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
If you put the wrong type of gas in the car, you can't dispute it, it owe for the damages. Even if you had bought insurance, it usually doesn't cover things like this. If you send us a link to the full policy, we can look at it.

I'm sorry this happened to you, but when you cause the damage - it usually isn't covered.
 
Sep 17, 2018
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#3
Hi Neil,

Thanks for your quick response.

To be honest, I really don't recall having put Diesel. I was totally shocked when Alamo said this. I also don't have the receipt to even verify whether that was true. My husband (who doesn't drive as he's used to subways in NY all his life) helped me fill the car with fuel but he also didn't notice anything. If the nozzle didn't fit, he would have told me for sure (even when he may not be familiar wit the fuel types).

Would the credit card insurance really not cover anything? I read that they cover the loss of use and towing, but not mechanical damage which may be the case for misfueled cars.

Here's the link (Page 14 onwards for MasterRental): https://www.us.hsbc.com/content/dam...enefits_and_Terms_and_Conditions_brochure.pdf

Any ideas of what the possible cost range would be - if it really were my fault? I rented a RAV4 2018.

Is it also possible to negotiate the damages as the costing is usually subjective to who made the assessment/made the repair?

Thanks in advance for looking into this and for your help!
 
Last edited:

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,875
13,291
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#4
The only thing I can see that might cause a decline of the insurance is this:

‘Mechanical failures caused by wear and tear, gradual deterioration, or mechanical breakdown.”

According to the rental company there was a mechanical breakdown due to putting the wrong type of fuel in the car.

You should notify your credit card of the possibility of a claim.

But you should also ask the car rental company for a copy of all repair bills for the car so you can see what they did to fix the car and make sure it was due to the fuel.

Did you notice problems with the engine after you filled the gas tank?
 
Likes: akho463
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Unfortunately this is an error that is often not covered by car rental insurance.

Do you have any personal liability insurance?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,875
13,291
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
I was talking about this to my wife, she had a friend who lived in NJ (where you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas) and rented a car in Florida. She put diesel into the car (she claims she thought the green diesel colored nozzle was regular gas) and the car broke down. It only cost about $500 to fix the car. They just had to remove all the gas from the tank and fuel lines. It didn’t damage the car engine.

This also might make you feel a little better.

https://www.quora.com/I-accidentall...car-Can-this-be-taken-care-of-by-my-insurance
 
Likes: akho463
Sep 17, 2018
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#8
Thanks for all your responses.

I have yet to receive the bill but yes will certainly ask for the breakdown tomorrow.

Someone from the risk department of Alamo just said, "I am reaching out regarding the claim that was written on your rental car. I understand that there were some issues you had with your rental that required it to be towed to a location. The vehicle was taken to a dealership where they discovered that the issue was Diesel fuel being put into the car which caused your car to stop working. Do you know at which Gas location you filled up the tank at?"

The letter I just got today too saying that "Our Damage Recovery Unit has received notification of damage or loss to the vehicle you rented. Please contact hour insurance company to report this claim..." None of the messages have used the terms "mechanical failure". Maybe I'm being literal here. :/

I don't have an auto insurance and just went by my credit card's insurance. I did see that they cover the loss of use and towing but not sure if that only pertains to cases where there's an actual collision, not due to misfueling. I'm still stunned by how I could have made that mistake.
 
Sep 17, 2018
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#9
I submitted a claim online to MasterRental just now. The options I saw for the claim included collision, theft, or gas/tire damage. No other option. I just selected the gas/tire one and then one the next page explained the situation. Eek!!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Hi Neil,

Thanks for your quick response.

To be honest, I really don't recall having put Diesel. I was totally shocked when Alamo said this. I also don't have the receipt to even verify whether that was true. My husband (who doesn't drive as he's used to subways in NY all his life) helped me fill the car with fuel but he also didn't notice anything. If the nozzle didn't fit, he would have told me for sure (even when he may not be familiar wit the fuel types).

Would the credit card insurance really not cover anything? I read that they cover the loss of use and towing, but not mechanical damage which may be the case for misfueled cars.

Here's the link (Page 14 onwards for MasterRental): https://www.us.hsbc.com/content/dam...enefits_and_Terms_and_Conditions_brochure.pdf

Any ideas of what the possible cost range would be - if it really were my fault? I rented a RAV4 2018.

Is it also possible to negotiate the damages as the costing is usually subjective to who made the assessment/made the repair?

Thanks in advance for looking into this and for your help!
So I glanced at the MasterCard benefits

And on the final legal pages there is the following disclosure:

“Due Diligence: All parties are expected to exercise due diligence to avoid or diminish any theft, loss or damage to the property insured under these programs. “Due diligence” means the performance of all vigilant activity, attentiveness, and care that would be taken by a reasonable and prudent person in the same or similar circumstances in order to guard and protect the item.”

I think it is page 36– due diligence would mean not putting in the wrong type of fuel, so I would suspect that this gives the card insurance a reason not to cover this.

I am hoping that this will not hit the 5 digits.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#11
I was talking about this to my wife, she had a friend who lived in NJ (where you aren’t allowed to pump your own gas) and rented a car in Florida. She put diesel into the car (she claims she thought the green diesel colored nozzle was regular gas) and the car broke down. It only cost about $500 to fix the car. They just had to remove all the gas from the tank and fuel lines. It didn’t damage the car engine.

This also might make you feel a little better.

https://www.quora.com/I-accidentall...car-Can-this-be-taken-care-of-by-my-insurance
It sounds like the quora answer was answering someone who had car insurance and rented a car and has car insurance.

The MasterCard agreement has a specific due diligence clause which could be used to against the op
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#12
Hi Neil,

Thanks for your quick response.

To be honest, I really don't recall having put Diesel. I was totally shocked when Alamo said this. I also don't have the receipt to even verify whether that was true. My husband (who doesn't drive as he's used to subways in NY all his life) helped me fill the car with fuel but he also didn't notice anything. If the nozzle didn't fit, he would have told me for sure (even when he may not be familiar wit the fuel types).

Would the credit card insurance really not cover anything? I read that they cover the loss of use and towing, but not mechanical damage which may be the case for misfueled cars.

Here's the link (Page 14 onwards for MasterRental): https://www.us.hsbc.com/content/dam...enefits_and_Terms_and_Conditions_brochure.pdf

Any ideas of what the possible cost range would be - if it really were my fault? I rented a RAV4 2018.

Is it also possible to negotiate the damages as the costing is usually subjective to who made the assessment/made the repair?

Thanks in advance for looking into this and for your help!
It sounds as if you had the car for a few days and there is no way the car would have been running with the wrong fuel before you got it.

Did you pay by credit card at the gas station? If so there may be info on what was done.

There is no way to dispute the charge if you did misfuel and that is not an honest thing to do in fact it borders on fraud.

And honestly you really do not have the upper hand to negotiate. I am not sure how the charge is subjective — it takes x amount of hours to drain and to repair if needed.

MasterCard could easily decline the coverage under the due diligence clause — putting in proper fuel is due diligence.

At this point I would alert the MasterCard insurance and wait.
 
Likes: akho463
Sep 12, 2018
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#13
Diesel fuel pump nozzles are quite a bit larger than their gasoline counterparts and will not fit in any newer gasoline-powered car’s fuel filling port. You’d have to have held the nozzle against the outside of the port, and it would have made quite a mess. Did you pay cash? If not, your credit or debit card statement should tell you the time and location where you got the fuel. It might be worth a call to the station to see if you can get a copy of the receipt “for your records.” If their computer system is recent, they can produce another copy. If you can even get them to tell you how many gallons you bought, you might be able to do the math and figure out the price per gallon and determine whether you bought regular gas or diesel, the latter of which is generally more expensive.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
13,875
13,291
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#14
I wonder if the station you got the gas at had a delivery mix up and diesel was out in the wrong storage tank? That might be why they are asking what station you purchased the gas at. If that is possible, that would get you off the hook.

Did you charge the gas to your credit card? It’s really important to find out the gas systik you used and how many gallons you put in the tank.
 
Likes: akho463
Sep 19, 2015
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#15
I wonder if the station you got the gas at had a delivery mix up and diesel was out in the wrong storage tank? That might be why they are asking what station you purchased the gas at. If that is possible, that would get you off the hook.

Did you charge the gas to your credit card? It’s really important to find out the gas systik you used and how many gallons you put in the tank.
If there was a mix up it would likely end up in the news as it would be more than one person who suffered. A very good reason to try and get a copy of the receipt.
 
Sep 17, 2018
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#16
I really can't sleep because of this (and I'm already burnt out from work). I just can't wrap my head around how I could have done it because I've kept in mind to choose Regular. I know I had my husband fill in the fuel as I often did in the past (not sure whether I grabbed the nozzle and handed it to him or he just grabbed one without being aware of the difference -> either way that's ultimately my responsibility and fault). But then I would have to have purposely selected "diesel" from the machine first, else nothing could have come out of the diesel nozzle, am I right? -> I'm wondering if even that was such an oversight of mine!

I used my credit card and have figured out which location. https://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/dandy-mini-mart-candor?select=PZ5nukG4GBfEmyqLSq9N7Q -> I gassed up in this Dandy location and this is the closest photo of their gas pump I could find. I tried calling them earlier (before their closing time) but nobody was picking up. I'll try them again this morning and see if they could give me the receipt or find the gallon amount.

I wished the nozzle didn't fit but it did, there was no forcing to put it in or no mess (my husband would've also told me for sure).

I'm really dreading the alamo bill too because it will surely involve towing (and other various charges) as we were in upstate NY 3.5 hours away from the rental location. :(

Thanks so much for the input so far. I'll update you on what I find.
 
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Sep 17, 2018
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#18
Although diesel nozzles are often quite a bit larger than a gasoline, there is no legal requirement that they always be that way.
Understand. I only responded to the comment earlier from Nathan Witt about this, "Diesel fuel pump nozzles are quite a bit larger than their gasoline counterparts and will not fit in any newer gasoline-powered car’s fuel filling port. You’d have to have held the nozzle against the outside of the port, and it would have made quite a mess. "

I've called the Dandy location and they told me that they will try to look through their journals for the receipt and give me a call in a day or two.

As for Alamo, the Damage Recovery unit doesn't have the final bill yet. The preliminary value they see is $629.25 for repairs and towing but no further details. They will have to wait on billing to work out the repair costs before issuing the final invoice, which may take 30-60 days from date of incident.
 
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#20
Understand. I only responded to the comment earlier from Nathan Witt about this, "Diesel fuel pump nozzles are quite a bit larger than their gasoline counterparts and will not fit in any newer gasoline-powered car’s fuel filling port. You’d have to have held the nozzle against the outside of the port, and it would have made quite a mess. "

I've called the Dandy location and they told me that they will try to look through their journals for the receipt and give me a call in a day or two.

As for Alamo, the Damage Recovery unit doesn't have the final bill yet. The preliminary value they see is $629.25 for repairs and towing but no further details. They will have to wait on billing to work out the repair costs before issuing the final invoice, which may take 30-60 days from date of incident.
This cost is in line with what is out there on the web for repair. If it includes the towing, you may be able to get that covered by your credit card. You should submit a claim for the charge now, and not wait. The final charge can be adjusted after your get more paperwork from the rental agency DRU.
 
Likes: akho463