Visitor Question

Gas pump retracting cable snapped and broke my back window…

Submitted By: Cal (Concord, California)

The accident happened in a Costco gas pump in Concord, CA at around 3:15 PM on a busy Sunday afternoon. I have a Honda CRV and the gas tank cap is located on the left side and the pump is on the right.

I have always chosen gas pumps that are located on the right side because the line is usually shorter. I took the handle and pulled the hose and the retracting cable snapped. I think the ball stopper of the retracting cable hit the back glass of my car and it broke.

I spoke with the manager and she filed an incident report. It was forwarded to Costco’s insurance company and they responded that they are not going to compensate me. Their reason is that Costco has done their due diligence in maintaining their gas pumps as proven by their video cameras.

Fortunately, I am not injured. I had the car towed to my house and had the glass replaced. I have pictures of the frayed retracting cable. I also have spoken with my car insurance company and since the total expenses are below my deductible, they told me that they do not have a legal obligation to assist me.

How can I recoup my expenses? Should I file a case in a small claims court? Thanks.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Cal,

To succeed in a claim against Costco will require you to show the cable mechanism failed and that Costco knew, or should have known it was in need of repairs or that the cable mechanism was not properly maintained, and with that actual, or constructive knowledge failed to take appropriate action to assure the cable would not snap when pulled.

What you did was reasonable. The cable was stretched to reach your car’s gas intake input. There were no apparent warnings to you or other Costco customers not to stretch the cable.

Costco’s position that they had performed “due diligence” may sound impressive, however, due diligence or not, it appears Costco was negligent. Because of their negligence, you have the basis of a property damage claim against them.

You can file a small claims court lawsuit against Costco. California Small Claims Courts have jurisdiction to hear claims up to $10,000.

Learn more here: All About Product Liability Lawsuits

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney.

Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call 888-972-0892.

We wish you the best with your claim,


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