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Shell Incident Update

Rixio Jan 21, 2006

  1. Rixio

    Rixio Member

    I dont know if any of you have been following the thread on SOC but ill post whats gone on so far with Shell from the beginning on here, pics of hose on page 1 half way down http://www.skylineowners.com/forum/showthread.php?t=36251...

    The first, is the letter i sent to Shell, Second is their first response, the last is the letter i recieved this morning...

    On Saturday the 19th November 2005, I was filling petrol at the:

    Shell Service Station-Three Nuns
    Three Nuns, Leeds Rd, Mirfield, West Yorkshire WF14 0BY

    This pump is approximately 4 miles from my house. We had just gone shopping in Huddersfield and were on our way home.

    Whilst pumping petrol into my car, the hose of the pump split expelling fuel all over the forecourt and myself. I recoiled in shock, as petrol seeped through my clothing to my skin within a second. My dad jumped out of the car to help and pulled the nozzle out of the car, which resulted in him getting sprayed in the face, including his eyes and the rest of his torso.

    My younger brother had just got out of the car and was about to go and pay. When he saw what was happening, he tried to help by going to press the button/latch inside the pump to stop the petrol coming out of the hose, but before he managed to, my father succeeded in replacing the hose, but my brother still got soaked as he had tried to help while he was standing at the pump.

    I am extremely unhappy with the failure of the hose, as I thought that this would have been an item that would have been subject to lots of rigorous testing and evaluation due to the nature of its use.

    I am also extremely disgusted with the Service Station staff. They offered no apologies and actually blamed me for twisting the pump. After this incident I was forced to pay for the petrol lost in this incident. I was not offered any apologies or compensation except for the few pounds that were used before the pipe split which was roughly £3.

    I was even asked to put the “Out of Order” label on that pump even though I was soaked in flammable liquid. The manager was not interested in what happened and did not come out of the office. If a passer by had thrown a lit cigarette or match, we would have all ignited, the car and ourselves, two generations of my family would have been killed, and many others as well, if the petrol pumps exploded.

    My car has the distinct petrol smell which makes it very nauseating to drive in. I have had to have it valeted twice to get rid of the very potent petrol smell. I recently travelled abroad to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and bought a Buffalo Skin wallet, which was soaked through my pocket, it’s now totally ruined.

    We had to drive home in freezing weather (3 degrees) with all the windows down and the heaters off, for 30 minutes, in order to be safe, and make sure that the fumes given off by the petrol soaked in the upholstery would not ignite. We were petrified of what may have happened if something sparked. For instance, it could be extremely dangerous, not to mention how harmful the Benzene we inhaled and absorbed into our bloodstream through the skin on, arms, face, legs, neck, mouth, and the effect it could have, having been sprayed into my father’s eyes.

    Contrary to health and safety guidelines we did not receive any First Aid whatsoever. As soon as we got home, I gave my father an eye bath because he had been sprayed in the eyes. Even now we can still smell petrol, even though nothing is there. I had to go to the chemist and buy E45 & Aqueous cream to stop the itching and burning as a result of petrol contact on the skin. We all, including my mother, suffered from extreme headaches from the smell and inhalation, for 3 days. I even had to miss work on that Saturday evening and Sunday due to headache.

    “Flammable atmospheres may also exist where clothing or other absorbent material or substances are contaminated with petrol. Petrol vapour can have acute or chronic effects if inhaled and therefore should be considered in the assessment required under the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations 1999 (COSHH).”
    An extract taken from the Health & Safety Board website.

    I have spoken to Kirklees Council, Health and Safety Department, and have been told the procedures that should have been taken after an incident such as:
    • Supposed to have been provided with fireproof overalls.
    • Fire services must be called.
    • The Incident must be logged and reported.
    • The Pump must be shut down.

    None of the above procedures were carried out.

    On the 24th November I went to take pictures of the hose and pump and also request the CCTV footage, which by the Data Protection Act I am legally obliged to. The pump was still turned on, active and still exposed. This is what the manager had to say over the phone whilst being very arrogant and obnoxious:

    “Do you think I’m stupid enough to give you the tape?”
    “Its just normal wear and tear it happens all the time”
    “Well, if it does go to court I’ll just say nothing happened on that Saturday”
    “Well, don’t have it, I lost the tape anyway”
    “That particular pump doesn’t get recorded so you’re not on there”

    This is appalling and I can only hope this is not how all of your staff treats customers. I’m disgusted by the immature, unkind and callous behaviour of the station manager. I now have pictures of the pump and hose as evidence. The manager of the station has no respect and has a total disregard for human life.

    After regularly filling at Shell, using Optimax for the past 3 years, spending in excess of £5000 per annum on only one of my cars, I have never had any problems before, nor have I ever heard of anything like this happening. The pumps along with hoses and nozzles should be checked for wear and tear, vandalism or anything else. A hose in the state I was using it is flamboyantly disregarding the safety and well-being of the operator.

    I would want the incident taken seriously, after all it is extremely dangerous being soaked in highly flammable liquid. The garage must be responsible for maintaining the equipment; this incident could have turned out to be horrific! I have lost faith in the company, if something more serious had happened would the employees have acted and behaved the same? My fathers 50th birthday was the following Saturday, we all could have died the week before!

    This entire incident is absolutely appalling and I am not impressed in the slightest with the customer service or how this was dealt with, as a result I shall be debating whether any member of my family or friends, including myself, should continue to use Shell as opposed to the many other fuel providers.

    If somebody trips and falls at your service station, he can pursue legal action to claim compensation. If somebody was drenched with petrol, including half his family, at one of your service stations, I can only imagine what people may say. This is a very serious complaint and must be dealt with in a serious manner. If I do not get a response from you within 14 days I shall be forced to take legal action, with the media being contacted soon after.

    I am confident that a Company of your reputation and stature will look into this matter as a matter or urgency. I hope to hear from you soon.

    Yours sincerely

    Thank you for your letter about the Petrol Pump Incident. I have discussed your letter with the Chairman of Royal Dutch Shell plc who has requested me to answer the letter as follows.

    As you requested we should indeed look into the matter you raised as a matter of urgency and revert to you. While we should of course reserve our legal position pending the inquiry, in any event we very much regret the incident. Your letter will be reffered to the relevant manager for the facility you have mentioned in your letter and the Chairman has requested for a copy of the response to you.

    Yours sincerely

    M.C.M Brandjes
    Company Secretary

    This arrived this morning!

    Thank you for your letter dated 5th Dec addressed to Mr Van Der Veer, which has been passed to myself to investigate and respond.

    I was very sorry to of your experience at Three Nuns Petrol Service Station on 18th Nov 2005 and to hear of the incident you described in your letter. I would ask that you please accept my sympathy at what must have been a very distressing experience.

    Three Nuns Petrol Station is owned and operated by an independant retailer who has a fuel supply contract with Shell. I have informed Shell's Territory Dealer Manager, responsible for monitoring this service station; they were already aware of this incident and had spoken to the Site Manager about this. Whilst pump hoses are strengthened, day-to-day usage will wear on the hose and unfortunately a visual inspection cannot pre-emp a hose failure.

    I understand the site manager offered to pay for the related dry cleaning costs at the time of this incident; this offer still stands. Should you wish to accept this goodwill offer, please contact the site direct on 01924 481 000.

    Once again, i regret that this experience gave you cause to contact us and i do hope that this unfortunate incident will not deter you from visiting Shell branded service stations in the future.

    Kind Regards

    Yours sincerely

    John Rasmussen
    Retail Director - UK


    Now to me this sounds like they blatentley dont care! "cannot pre-empt a hose failure" what rubbish, look at the state of that hose, they trying to tell us, that hose wasnt noticed! & This "goodwill offer" yeh right...

  2. beaker

    beaker Member

    Ridiculous response! That place should be closed down and the whole thing should go to court. They should not be allowed to get away with this. By sheer fortune nobody was hurt or killed. The whole thing could have ended very badly.

    The fact they hadn't even bothered fixing the hose when you returned shows extreme negligence. Surely these places are governed by some safety body.

    I can't believe he thinks the best offer is to pay for cleaning costs.
  3. bainsyboy

    bainsyboy Guest

    Try watchdog on bbc1, think shells response is disgracefull
  4. mikeA2B

    mikeA2B Member

    Hi Rixio, I read about this when it happened, what a shocking situation to be in and hope you & your family are ok.

    Seems to me this is a typical faceless company trying to shrug you off m8, The shell company is partly to blame as they should monitor and advise on their franchisee's equipment a bit more.

    The franchisee is clearly cutting cost's by not systematically replacing items which their head office descibes as 'day-to-day usage' if I was you I would at least go to the citizens advice centre to see what your options are, and go to a solicitor , if your car needs a new interior then go to the stealer and get a report / quote, just dont let them get away with it, they rip us off with expensive fuel and charge double what the corner shop charges for drinks etc!
  5. chazzy

    chazzy Member

    Not really the response you wanted was it. Have you tried the local papers, they might be interested in a "human interest" scandal type story on their doorstep.
    Good luck. I certainly look at the pipe before bending it if i'm filling up from the wrong side.
    Has the local council given you any advice eg H&S officer??
  6. neversaydie

    neversaydie Post Whore

    yeah I have been kind of following this - I would say it's time to step up a cog! Bring it to the next level. Good luck.
  7. tubtub

    tubtub Member

    [ QUOTE ]

    Seems to me this is a typical faceless company trying to shrug you off m8, The shell company is partly to blame as they should monitor and advise on their franchisee's equipment a bit more.

    [/ QUOTE ]

    To quote Shell:
    "Three Nuns Petrol Station is owned and operated by an independant retailer who has a fuel supply contract with Shell."

    Not a franchise then.

    I would have immediately been in touch with Environmental Health Officers at the local council, more than likely they would have closed the forecourt until the hose(s) had been replaced.

    Then a civil action against the filling station owners for compensation accompanied by appropriate publicity in the local media (newspapers, TV and radio) should do the trick.
  8. MikeA3

    MikeA3 Active Member VCDS Map User

    Absolute discrace - take it up with watchdog or another consumer rights programme.

    good luck mate
  9. Been following from the beggining, What a dissapointing response.
  10. dik

    dik Member

    Get watchdog involved, the HSE, and a few large tabloids.

    That is a disgusting response.

    Its handy that they are independant makes sure Shell dont get stung !!
  11. god_thats_quick

    god_thats_quick Numptie of the highest order

    Yep I remember reading this when you first posted it over on the skyline forum... That response is typical of a large company - I think you need to speak to a lawyer and see what your legal position is regarding small claims court etc. And write to wachdog and some of the papers as suggested - they really should offer more than to pay for your cleaning after what happened. Free petrol for a year sounds fair to me! Then go buy a corvette!
  12. Ess_Three

    Ess_Three Active Member

    [ QUOTE ]

    Its handy that they are independant makes sure Shell dont get stung !!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    Shell wouldn't get 'stung' anyway...
    They don't own the garages...they are generally franchises.
    And even if there were some petrol stations directly owned by 'Shell'...they wouldn't be owned by the same part of the company that do the exploration or production...

    Shell have many divisions...and many sub-contract and collaboration projects going...the petrol stations are only one such outlet of the Shell brand.

    The blame here, in my view, is with the retailer...in this case the owner of the petrol station.
    You may get some joy there...whereas you'll get nothing from 'Shell' the corporation...they are too big and too well covered legally to be placed at fault.
  13. mikeA2B

    mikeA2B Member

    "Not a franchise then"

    It is a franchise, otherwise the independant seller would not be able to sell shell products or bear the shell name on his forecourt.

    eitherways you could have a go at sueing them both!
  14. Khufu

    Khufu Well-Known Member

    I'm with Glen on this. The site will have a contracted to exclusively sell their fuel and perhaps a deal on lubricants too but this is as far as it will go. Shell have no say on how the people run the site, though their area manager should have something to say on the matter.

    Isn't a franchise where you pay a set amount for the privilege of selling a product under their 'banner'.

    Shell sort of did this years ago but it was a terrible deal. You paid about £10k to get a site and then a yearly amount. As margins fell, it became impossible to make a profit.

    I really cant see the downstream side of Shell remaining in Britain in the long term, the amount of sites really seem to be falling and they are always complaining the upstream (Glens side) side of things subsidizes the downstream (retail ie forecourts)
  15. tubtub

    tubtub Member

    [ QUOTE ]
    "Not a franchise then"

    It is a franchise, otherwise the independant seller would not be able to sell shell products or bear the shell name on his forecourt.

    eitherways you could have a go at sueing them both!

    [/ QUOTE ]

    So my local Smile store is a franchisee of every product it sells?

    You can be sure that the fuel supply agreement Shell has with independent outlets has clauses which absolve it of any blame in cases like this.

    If you were in the forecourt shop and a damaged shelf support broke allowing the box on it to fall on your foot, would you blame the supplier of the box? I don't think so.

    Action against the outlet has far greater chance of success than against the supplier, not the least because of the effect on trade of adverse local publicity.

    Environmental Health Officers from the local council should have been brought in at an early stage to put the frighteners on.
  16. mikeA2B

    mikeA2B Member

    Going a bit off topic here tubtub but most high street names are franchised; Burger King, Mc Donalds, BP, Shell, Bargain Booze, etc

    its not a case of franchising every product you sell but when you buy a franchise you are licenced to bear the name and to sell the products they allow you to sell (Shell fuels and oils)

    You do still get independant petrol stations, but they are normally called crappyfuels etc and sell diesel for £1.50 per ltr through a pump that is probably in worse condition than the pump roxio used.

    If i was in the forecourt shop and a damaged shelf support broke allowing the box on it to fall on my foot, would I blame the supplier of the box? = This really depends if the shelf was supplied to merchandise the box that fell on my feet, wtf! get a grip
  17. audi5e

    audi5e Member

    Molotov cocktail thrown on their forecort should do the trick. Perhaps the owner of that garage needs his knee caps re-arranged. Suing is a waste of time and money, just give a gypsy a couple of drinks and tell him it would be a good idea and rather fun to "speak" to the owner of the garage... :)

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