Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller said his office has opened an investigation into the BP gasoline recall to ensure consumers' rights are protected, according to a news release issued Wednesday.
BP said Wednesday it believes about 200 retail outlets in Northwest Indiana and Illinois were supplied with off-specification regular-grade gasoline over the past seven days. The company said 20 additional sites in the Milwaukee area received premium gasoline that didn't meet certain specifications.
"We are closely monitoring the response by BP and will be reviewing their claims and reimbursement processes," Zoeller said in a statement after first announcing the inquiry Wednesday morning on WJOB-AM 1230. "As the watchdog for Indiana consumers, my office has a duty to ensure consumers' rights are protected and that there is no undue delay in appropriate reimbursements."
The fuel was shipped from the company's fuel storage terminals in Whiting and Milwaukee and it contained a higher-than-normal level of polymeric residue. In early estimates, the company said 2.1 million gallons of gasoline from Whiting was affected.
About 7,000 people have reached BP about the matter and motorists have reported car problems such as hard starting, stalling and other issues as a result of using the tainted gasoline. People reaching The Times since Monday said they bought regular gas that caused their vehicle problems at certain locations of BP, Costco, Family Express, GoLo, Luke, Meijer, Mr. Fuel, Speedway and Thorntons.
"The company continues to go through its shipping records and is contacting retailers who may have loaded tanker trucks with the off-specification fuel and is replacing it with on-specification product," according to a company news release issued Wednesday.
BP said it established a second hotline, (800) 599-9040, so people whose vehicles have been harmed by using the tainted fuel may speak to claims representatives. The other telephone line, (800) 333-3991, remains open along with the email address, email@example.com, to reach customer service representatives. Inquiries also can be submitted online at www.bpresponse.com. The company said people filing claims should save sales receipts, credit or debit card records and repair bills.
Several retailers that sold gas from BP are accepting complaints from customers or will start to work with them soon, according to people reaching The Times.
Consumers also can file a separate complaint with the attorney general's office by visiting www.indianaconsumer.com or by calling (800) 382-5516 to request a hard copy of the form. Zoeller said customers are not required to file a complaint with his office to take part in the BP claims process, but complaints regarding BP's responses are particularly appropriate.
BP said in a statement that it "stands by every gallon of gasoline we sell" and was committed to working with customers who were affected by tainted gas and state regulators.