BP Says Oregon Lawsuit 'Baseless'

Class action claims Arco, ampm franchisees overcharged debit-card gas customers

Greg Lindenberg, Editor, CSP

BP Arco ampm

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A class-action lawsuit has been filed against BP West Coast Products LLC alleging that the company required gas stations in Oregon to charge customers 35 cents when they bought gasoline with a debit card, reported The Oregonian.

David Sugerman, the Portland lawyer who filed the suit with the Multnomah County Court, said that BP--through its franchisees--charged the fee when it should not have and also failed to alert customers of the fee until gasoline was in their car and it was time to pay.

"Based on information we've reviewed, the number of consumers [affected] is in the millions statewide--millions of customers and millions and millions of transactions," Sugerman said, according to the newspaper.

The suit applies to Oregon consumers who bought gasoline with a debit card and were charged 35 cents at an Arco stations or ampm convenience stores between Jan. 1, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2013.

The suit is currently scheduled to go to trial on Jan. 14, the report said.

Click here to view the full Oregonian report.

"BP considers the lawsuit baseless," company spokesperson Scott Dean told CSP Daily News. "Plaintiff's lawyers claims relating to legality of the debit-card fee and gasoline price advertising are simply wrong. The debit-card fee is not a fee on the prices of gasoline or other products. It is a transaction fee based on the costs of accepting debit cards as opposed to cash. By treating this banking fee separate from the price of gasoline or other products, ARCO dealers and franchisees can offer low prices. ARCO shoppers are aware of the debit-card fee which has been in place for more than 20 years and is disclosed throughout ARCO stations."

BP--with U.S. operations based in Chicago, Houston and Blaine, Wash.--is the nation's second-largest producer of oil and gas. It markets more than 15 billion gallons of gasoline every year United States to consumers through more than 11,000 branded retail outlets and supplies more than four billion gallons of fuel annually to fleets, industrial users, auto and truck manufacturers, railroads and utilities. With headquarters in London, BP is the single, global brand formed by the combination of the former British Petroleum, Amoco, Atlantic Richfield (ARCO) and Burmah Castrol.