Sam's Club is Under Fire for Selling This to Customers

Some customers noticed a significant issue after leaving the store.

We love to take advantage of the savings offered at warehouse clubs like Costco Wholesale or Sam's Club—particularly those of us who like to buy in bulk. While warehouse clubs require a membership to shop, annual fees (averaging about $40 to $50) don't generally break the bank. Some financial experts debate the real economic benefit of shopping at these retailers, which generally have lower prices than grocery stores, but also tend to tempt you with impulse buys, according to AARP. But while there merits can be debated, Sam's Club has found itself in the news for selling one product that turned out to be contaminated. Read on to find out why the retailer was in hot water.

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Sam's Club has been working on store upgrades.

aisle in a Sam's Club warehouse store
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In April, Sam's Club announced that it would be updating its house brand, Member's Mark, in an effort to be more environmentally conscious. Over the next 18 months, customers will see new a new logo for Member's Mark products, which will now feature a "subtle checkmark." Moving towards becoming a regenerative brand, much like its parent company Walmart, Sam's Club is also removing certain ingredients from Member's Mark food and consumable products, including high fructose corn syrup and aspartame. While the company is making strides by keeping the customer in mind, a Sam's Club warehouse in Minnesota recently made headlines for selling a contaminated product—but it might not be what you think.

One location is under fire for selling a contaminated product.

car filling up with gas at pump
Ropisme / Shutterstock

One major perk of belonging to a warehouse club is the ability to fill up your gas tank, as these prices are consistently cheaper than at your local gas station. According to Consumer Reports, if you have a membership, you can save anywhere from 5 to 25 cents per gallon.

However, some shoppers in Minnesota experienced issues when getting gas at a Sam's Club Fuel Center in Hermantown, as reported by the Duluth News Tribune. Per the Minnesota Department of Commerce, the station's underground fuel tank had been infiltrated by water, which can damage car engines and fuel injectors. One customer interviewed by the News Tribune stated that her car stalled after she got gas at Sam's Club, saddling her with a $3,000 repair bill.

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The pumps were inspected by officials, who confirmed the fuel was contaminated.

sam's club logo on the roof of gas station
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Customer complaints prompted the Minnesota Department of Commerce to inspect the site, the News Tribune reported.

"We found more than a half-inch of water in the tank, and the inspector could also see from the sample he took that it was cloudy," Greg Vanderplaats, director of the department of commerce's weights and measures division, told the outlet, also noting that to detect contamination, a water-finding paste is used.

The pumps were already out of use and "off-sale" when the inspector visited the site, Vanderplaats said. But when a fuel sample was taken and sent for testing, with experts confirming it had been contaminated with water.

"They said they found where the water was coming in, made repairs, and brought in new product," Vanderplaats told the News Tribune. And when inspectors returned on Tuesday, May 3 to reassess the situation and take another sample, no water was found and the station was given the go-ahead to resume operation.

Water damage can cause serious issues for your car.

man with broken down car on the side of the road
tonton / Shutterstock

According to carparts.com, getting water-contaminated fuel is not all that uncommon. This often happens when storage tanks at the gas station are contaminated via seepage or condensation.

If this does happen to you, your vehicle may experience serious performance problems. Your car might not run properly, stall while you're driving, or refuse to start at all. Having water in your tank can also lead to corrosion of your fuel system, causing system failure and a costly bill at the mechanic.

To avoid this, skip older gas stations and those located in areas where there has been flooding or where flooding could occur in the future, Scanner Answers recommends.

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