Written by Mazuri Colley, Information and Assistance Advocate
You may know that calling 1-800-390-2699 will lead you to the AT Network’s Information and Referral Line, but what you may not know is that you can find that number (or should find that number) posted at every gas station across the great state of California.
At this point you may be wondering, why? And if you are, you are asking a great question! What do gas stations across California and the AT Network have in common? I can tell you the answer in two words….Refueling Act (also known as Business and Professions Code Section 13660).
In short, the Refueling Act states that people with disabilities displaying a license plate or placard from the DMV should receive assistance with refueling upon request. There are a few exceptions that release a gas station owner from this provision, like, for example, if there is only one person on duty.
It’s also required that gas stations post notifications stating whether refueling service is available and if there are certain times when it will not be offered during the day. However, if more than one person is working at the gas station—and the second employee is not exclusively involved in food preparation—regardless of posted refueling hours, the gas station must provide refueling assistance.
There are three types of individuals that call from gas stations, and I have broken them into sections below:
Refueling station owners: Owners call because they want to remain in compliance with the law and they want to understand it better.
People who have not received their right to refueling service: When someone calls because they went to a gas station and did not receive refueling services, they want to know what their rights are and they want to make a complaint. These complaints are made to their local district attorney’s office or with their local police department.
People who called the wrong number: People who think they are calling the corporate offices of Shell or the manager of their local gas station have the wrong number. They are usually either calling to say they got the wrong change back or that pump number three isn’t working.
What do you do if you are at a station that is noncompliant but are still need of refueling service?
One caller who recently was put in the situation of being low on fuel and at a station where she was being refused refueling services was diligent and resourceful in resolving this issue. Without enough gas to get home or to get to another station this person was in a situation that seemed hopeless. She called our information line, but since it was a weekend she left a message to find out how she could make a complaint, but she still needed gas to get home. This resourceful caller was able to call her local police department’s non-emergency line and talk to an officer about her situation. An officer was able to come out and help her get gas and also speak to the owner and employees of the station.
The situation described above is an extreme one, but it pays to be knowledgeable about your options and the resources available to you. Have you or someone you know ever been refused refueling services? How was the situation resolved? How many of you will now think of the AT Network every time you go to fill up your tank?