April 30, 2014 7:37 pm

More consumers complain of water in fuel, expensive repairs

A growing number of consumers have come forward claiming fuel from a Toronto gas station caused damage to their vehicles after a Global News investigation.

Real estate broker Kent Sheppard is one of the most recent to come forward.

“My car started shaking and sputtering and I realized, uh oh,” Sheppard said.

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The Toronto real estate broker filled up at the Neon station at 1200 Queen Street East last Friday evening. He says after driving four blocks, his Mercedes G class SUV came to a shuddering halt.

“This is wrong, people cannot afford this problem,” Sheppard said, expressing concern for other drivers who might not have the means to pay for repairs.

The bill to get his car back on the road, including a new fuel pump, is more than $1,000 and growing.

A woman claiming to own the Neon station told Global News Monday that fuel being sold does not contain water. The Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) regulates fuel tanks at gas stations and has found no evidence of water.

“As recently as yesterday morning, TSSA has confirmed through a surprise inspection that water is not present in any of the tanks at Neon Gas Services,” wrote Wilson Lee, a spokesperson for the authority.

But consumers aren’t convinced. And neither are some mechanics.

“It’s not the first time I’ve seen an issue with this particular gas station,” said Chris Syme, owner of S&S Motors, where Sheppard took his malfunctioning Mercedes. “Cars would make it to the light next to my shop and break down,” said Syme, whose previous shop was located near the Neon station. He has been a mechanic in the neighbourhood for 17 years.

Two years ago, Andy Papadopolous says he filled up his new Toyota Tundra at Neon. When his truck suddenly stopped working after pulling away from the station, he had it towed to dealer mechanics. He says he was taken aback at their report.

“They said my gas tank was pretty much half filled with water,” said Papadopolous, who paid $1300 to have the vehicle repaired.

Consumers who spoke to Global News say regulators need to conduct more thorough investigations of Neon.

“I’m appalled this is happening over and over again, I appreciate people like you digging into this,” said Papadopolous.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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