Pilot Flying J agrees to settlement

Friday, Aug 2 2013 admin

A judge in the United States District Court in Arkansas has approved a settlement agreement involving Pilot Flying J and the plaintiffs of the 20 or so class-action lawsuits brought against the truck stop conglomerate. The company is defendant as a result of an alleged scheme where fuel rebates were withheld from customers in order for Pilot Flying J to increase profits and commissions.court hearing

A federal affidavit released April 18 revealed that some of Pilot Flying J's customers did not receive tens of thousands of dollars a month in fuel purchase rebates due them. Furthermore, the money owed to customers and not paid by Pilot Flying J during the seven years the fraudulent scheme was taking place amounts to tens of millions of dollars.

Any Pilot customer can join the class of plaintiffs and have its accounts audited by Pilot. The settlement terms, which Pilot Flying J has agreed to, are:

  • Pilot must conduct an internal audit and pay any and all of the amount owed to each eligible member in the discount programs plus 6% interest of the principal owed;
  • Pilot must pay all accounting fees, fees and expenses of the claims administrator, and notice costs;
  • Pilot must be permanently enjoined from deliberately and deceptively withholding price rebates or discounts from customers;
  • Pilot must pay attorneys’ fees, costs, and expenses.

Additionally, Jimmy Haslam, owner and CEO of Pilot Flying J, wrote an open letter to customers in which he updated the company’s progress in addressing the payment of money owed. He said the entire internal field audit team has been instructed to review all diesel fuel accounts, nearly 5000 in all, starting with the manual diesel rebate customers. The federal affidavit had highlighted those customers as being the ones most vulnerable to the fraudulent scheme.

Letters have been mailed to manual diesel rebate customers explaining the results of the audit and checks were sent to cover the discrepancies plus interest. As of June 30, the complete elimination of manually calculated diesel rebates was enacted. Audits have begun on all other accounts with any type of bill or rebate relationship with Pilot Flying J.

Three members of Pilot Flying J’s diesel fuel sales team were placed on administrative leave on April 20 after the federal affidavit was released. Since then, six additional member of the sales team have resigned or were terminated. Haslam added, “This has been a very difficult time for members of our diesel fuel sales team who remain in place. These team members have been real troopers, staying focused, and doing their jobs.”

Haslam also outlined new positions and hires to the Pilot Flying J sales team. “We understand that Pilot Flying J still has lots of work to do to regain your trust,” Haslam writes. “We are taking aggressive measures to restore, preserve and protect our customer relationships. We will continue to work very hard every day to overcome past issues and ensure they are not repeated.”

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