Trucker records Pilot fuel pump that keeps charging despite no fuel flowing

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Friday, October 31, 2014

A trucker who managed to record video of a fuel pump overcharging her for diesel at a Mississippi Pilot truck stop said she’s lucky to have spotted the error and been able to get her money back.

Peggy Alexander, a company driver leased to K and B Transport of Michigan, has been an over-the-road driver for 11 years. On Friday, Oct. 24, she was finishing up fueling at the Pilot truck stop in Meridian, Miss., when she noticed the pump was still charging her for fuel.

“When I took the nozzle out of the tank, I heard a click, so I looked over and, wow, that thing was still charging me,” she said in a phone interview with Land Line.

Alexander reached for her phone and began recording a video of the pump continuing to roll, despite the fact that no fuel was being pumped out of the nozzle. In fact, the video shows the nozzle on top of the pump while the dollar amount continues to climb a few cents at a time.

In all, Alexander said she was overcharged by about 70 cents. With video in hand, she said she went inside the truck stop to demand a refund from the manager.

“I was so irritated, I said give me my (money) or this is going viral,” she said. “The manager said, and this is a direct quote, ‘we’ve had other drivers complain about it, but they didn’t have a video.’ That irritated me more than the money. Oh you know about this and nobody’s doing anything about it? If you know, then fix it.”

A spokesperson from Pilot’s corporate office in Tennessee said the company “routinely monitors and inspects dispensers for proper operation.”

“At times, a leaking or malfunctioning dispenser may require repair or replacement,” corporate communications director Anne LeZotte said in an email to Land Line. “When a store manager is informed of a dispenser calibration issue, such as when a meter continues to run once the fuel has stopped dispensing from the nozzle, company procedure is to shut down that fuel dispenser and make a request for maintenance to test the pump to identify the cause.”

She also said Pilot Flying J “will continue to test and repair any fuel dispensers requiring attention and as required by law.” Customers who notice issues with the fuel dispensers are encouraged to notify the store manager on duty, or call Pilot Flying J Customer Service at 877-866-7378.

The director of Mississippi’s Petroleum Products Inspection Division, estimated her agency receives about 300 complaints per year statewide from drivers who believe they’ve been incorrectly charged at the pump. The agency, which operates under Mississippi’s Department of Agriculture and Commerce, is responsible for certifying the accuracy of all commercial fuel pumps in the Magnolia State.

“Our phone number is indicated on every device in the state,” Jennifer Thompson said. “If there’s a complaint (consumers) can call in and we’ll address that in 24 hours.”

Thompson said the number to report a complaint on a fuel pump is 601-359-1101. The complaining party may also request a written copy of an investigation under the state’s open records law.

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