Apr 012010

There was only a steady breeze blowing in Las Vegas when we got up yesterday morning, and the high winds forecast the night before were no longer in the picture. So we decided to go ahead and leave the Thousand Trails campground and go on to Kingman, Arizona.

It didn’t take us long to get ready to travel. While I unhooked our water, electric and sewer connections from the campground’s utilities, Miss Terry was busy inside getting things stowed away in our motorhome. Then we ran in our slide rooms, pulled up our stabilizing jacks, and hooked our van to our Blow Ox tow bar.

A quick scan of my PressurePro tire monitoring system showed that both of our inside dual wheels were at 22 pounds. I got out my tire pressure gauge and checked both wheels, and they were right at 100 pounds. Ever since we had our new tires installed at Camping World a month ago, we have had continued false readings on both inside duals. I talked to PressurePro dealer Mike McFall at our rally in Yuma, and he suggested that I remove both sensors, let them set for a few minutes, and then screw them back on, but that has not solved the problem, so I need to call Mike again. I think the problem lies with the type of valve stems Camping World used. I have heard from other RVers who had to switch their valve stems out because of the same problem.

We had a little bit of wind coming out of Las Vegas, and a couple of gusts hit us on U.S. Highway 95 somewhere around Searchlight, but by the time we turned onto State Route 163 for the seventeen mile long, steep downhill trip to Laughlin, the wind had died.

The Winnebago’s exhaust brake handled the downhill run easily, and once we crossed the Colorado River into Arizona, we began another long uphill climb on State Route 68. The big Cummins diesel engine had to work a bit on this one, and we got down to 39 miles per hour for a short stretch, but since it was a nice divided four lane highway, we just got in the right hand lane and chugged right along.

We were going to need fuel before we left Kingman, and the Flying J there has some of the tightest RV fuel islands we’ve ever seen, so I decided to stop at the TA Truck Stop just as we came into town, where access was easier. Big mistake.

Since the cash/debit card price was 28 cents a gallon less then the credit card price, Terry took my debit card inside to have them activate the fuel pump. The clerk told her they would pre-charge us $300, and then correct the amount once I had finished filling our tank. The fuel came to $234.42, and when I went inside to pay, I confirmed with the clerk that this was how much I was being debited. Later that evening I discovered that in addition to the fuel I purchased, TA had also dinged my account for $500, which they were holding as a “security fee.”

I’ve had this happen before, but never for so much money, and I was pissed. I called the truck stop, told them that the charge for the fuel had already cleared my bank account, and I wanted my $500 back. The snotty clerk told me that it would take up to 30 days for them to process the refund. I demanded to talk to his boss, and got some other clown who would not give me his name, but assured me that yes, they would “eventually” return the money to my account. He told me that this was “company policy” to protect me from fraud. Huh? You take $500 of my money and put it in your account, where you draw interest on it for up to a month, to protect me? Such a deal! How much money do places like this make every month on their customers’ money?

I should have just used a credit card instead, since they also charged me the full credit card price anyway. You can bet that I will drive a long way out of my way to avoid TA truck stops in the future.

We arrived at my friend Mike Howard’s home here in Kingman, where we’ll be hanging out for a few days, before we continue on to Show Low, Arizona to visit my daughter and her family. In spite of having five bars of slower National Access service, our internet connection here is beyond terrible, and I don’t even know if I will be able to post my blog. Using our Verizon air card, we get knocked off line every minute or two, if we can even get online. Even my Blackberry Storm is giving me problems receiving and sending e-mail. So please don’t send me any jokes or forwards for a while. I can’t read them, anyway, and they just fill up my inbox.

Bad Nick fought a slow internet connection to post a new Bad Nick Blog titled It’s Time To Take Back Our Border. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  16 Responses to “Screwed At The Fuel Pump”

  1. Nick, if you think the RV island at the Flying J in Kingman, AZ is tight, don’t go to the J in Billings, MT!

  2. Have you written to TA corporate and directed them to this blog? You must realize that we will now all avoid TA stops whenever possible.

    Also, has your bank been willing to help speed up the refund of your monies?

    Their policy is just plain bad business and just as with National Interstate, it deserves to be known so people can make fully informed decisions before deciding whether or not to do business with TA.

  3. I would contact the bank and tell them that this was an unauthorized charge, then I would contact the Attorney General of the state or your Senator with a compliant about this practice.

    You would be surprised at how fast things get done when someone from a Senators office calls and starts asking questions and mentions an investigation.

  4. I have had similar problem with other fueling locations when using my debit card, so I have made it a policy to NEVER use a debit card at a gas station!

  5. The only way we EVER use a debit card is to get cash back at a grocery store, preferably one we shop in regularly. Too many horror stories like yours out there!

  6. Yep…best to just get cash back, or use their ATM to get the cash. You are right, the Flying J RV island is really tight, especially if you are towing. Have stopped there 3, or 4 times. They usually have one of the best propane prices in the southwest at that station.

  7. It could have been worse. We pulled into the Chevron on the highway entering Kingman. The diesel price was terrible but I was part way into filling up when I figured it out ( they don’t post their price outside) so I continued. Then the roving helper out side started telling me my tires were out of date ( not), that one had a bulge & needed to be changed right away & they had a tire shop on site that could help me “Yeah right” I politely declined but the pitch went on. Then he wanted to check under the hood for me. I finally had to be impolite & tell him to hit the road & do not touch my vehicle, but in stronger words.
    We have found we now tag team when fueling up, so one of us pays while the other pumps. In Northern California we have had an instance where the ask how much you want, they bill your credit card but will not refundanything if you pump under what you guessed you would need.

  8. Why use the RV island? It is faster with an easier in/out to use the truck lanes. If you do be sure to be courteous don’t dottle and pull away from the pump when you are done filling with fuel.

  9. Oh I am sure you should contact TA… Do they know how many RV owners are out there and how fast this will go around the internet… I bet they would cringe! Why don’t all the other stations offer the RV travel card like Flying J which aloows us the cash price? It would be smart on their part don’t you think? Have a great day & travel safe…

  10. I’d call the Kingman police and report the fraud. Maybe they’d be nice enough to send an officer out to supply a little embarrassment.

  11. We had a problem with being overcharged for diesel fuel at the Love’s in Elk City OK awhile back. We couldn’t seem to make the clerk (or her manager!) understand that our Ford F350 couldn’t hold the 38 gallons of fuel we were being charged for, when we had 1/4 tank full when we pulled in!!! We went to Love’s website and wrote a letter of complaint, had it acknowledged…then heard nothing for a month! I don’t let go of these kinds of things, even though a small problem, so I wrote to the Attorney General’s Office of the state of Oklahoma, was acknowledged…then heard nothing! So, one year later, I pulled up the original letter to Love’s, resent it with another letter indicating that we would never patronize their stations again and, this time, got a letter apologizing for the problem and sending a gift card for $30! Apparently there was no record of my original complaint! Persistence pays!!!

  12. This is a prime example why we don’t stop at any Truck Stops. We would sooner go to the smaller stations that provide fuel as long as we can get in and out of.

  13. My son and his wife ran into this while on vacation in Los Angeles. They stopped to get gas on the way, and when they got to their hotel, they didn’t have enough available balance to get the room. The gas station had applied a large “reserve” to their account. Reserves usually drop off within 24 hours, but on weekends and holidays, can take until the next business day. In rare cases, they can persist for 30 days; your bank can help you with those.

  14. We ran into that same thing at a Pilot Truck Stop last year….we now avoid them. We also avoid Shell when on the bikes…we have to go inside every time. They say it’s the credit card companies forcing them…then how come no gas stations do. Hate feeling taken advantage of…especially by fuel companies.

  15. We’ve had the same issue with T/A and Pilot. They’re not protecting you from fraud, they’re protecting themselves…There are better ways to do it. We tend to go to Flying J, with the RV bonus card, we usually get the cash price and use a regular credit card. If not, I go to the ATM, pay the fee and pay the truck stop cash. A pain but I like my money in my pocket more then theirs. The AT fee is usually less then the credit price.

  16. Sorry this happened to you. To me even if they put a hold on the money, once the purchase prices clears your bank, they should end the hold, but I am sure they are making money on the hundreds of thousands of dollars of “holds” across the country.

    A few months back we paid a payment on our motorhome before the end of the billing period, so in effect we paid two months payment in one month. Once we realized the error we asked the ban to refund the second payment. As it was done by bank to bank transfer, we saw no reason why they couldnt just refund it the same way we paid it. After a couple of calls to the bank they finally told us they could not transfer the money back to our bank, but they would send us a paper check within 30 days. So they got to use our money for almost a month. It maybe not be illegal, but sure isnt good customer service.

    BTW, saw this article on yahoo a while ago, and thought it was intersting.



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