UPDATE: We asked BP to expound on the statement it shot off to Consumerist that didn’t address the long wait times and busy signals customers were reporting, and a rep told us: ” We apologize for the long hold times. We are adding operators today. Another option is to file a claim by e-mail. “
ORIGINAL POST BELOW
After BP announced yesterday that it’s recalling unleaded regular gasoline that was shipped to fuel distributors in northwestern Indiana, some customers are having a tough time actually getting in touch with the company regarding potential problems the gas has caused with their vehicles. One driver reported being on hold for over an hour and a half.
On Monday, BP said it believes fuel stored in a tank at a storage facility in Whiting, Ind. could cause hard starting, stalling and other drivability issues, reports the Associated Press. The company provided a number for consumers to call if they’ve had such issues starting Aug. 13 (1-800-333-3991) as well as an email (email@example.com), but what good is a hotline if no one picks up the phone?
The Northwest Indiana Times says customers have reported lengthy wait times when they tried to reach out to BP about the recall, including one customer who called before 7 a.m. and waited for 100 minutes. The paper also tried calling multiple times between 6:45 a.m. and 7 a.m. and only got a busy signal.
Consumers can also try contacting the outlets where the gas was purchased, suggested BP.
When Consumerist tried calling the number, an automated message said BP was experiencing “technical difficulties” with its phone system, and to “please note, at this time, some representatives will not have the skill needed to assist you, so we may need to redirect your call or have someone call you back.”
We got a wait time of approximately 36 minutes — but who’s to say how long the wait would be after being connected to someone who doesn’t have the skill to deal with the call in the first place?
Not even a “we might not be able to deal,” but “will not have the skill needed.” Sounds promising. We reached out to BP’s U.S. corporate offices to see how it intends to move forward with actually helping affected customers, and received simply its latest general statement:
BP continues to take action to recall off-specification gasoline shipped to Northwest Indiana distributors last week and has established a process to work with customers whose cars have required repairs associated with the fuel.
BP believes a 50,000 barrel batch of regular grade gasoline blended at BP’s Whiting, Indiana gasoline storage terminal between August 13th and 17th contained a higher than normal level of polymeric residue and this residue can cause hard starting and other drivability issues. The fuel may have been purchased by motorists patronizing BP and other retail outlets in Northwest Indiana during the past seven days.
BP is committed to fuel quality and guarantees every gallon of gasoline we sell. Any customer whose vehicle has experienced these symptoms during this period should contact BP’s customer hotline at 1-800-333-3991 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The company is going through its shipping records and contacting Northwest Indiana customers who may have loaded tanker trucks at the storage terminal during this period and is replacing the contaminated fuel with fresh product.
We would like to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused some of our customers.