Check for $91.94 in the mail
Did you receive a check in the mail for $91.94 recently? Well so did I. These checks from Scharfstein v. BP WCP LLC are part of a suite against ARCO gas stations as part of a multi million-dollar class action settlement that affects nearly two million people, mostly from Oregon. I’m not from Oregon, but I have filled up in the state several times. I actually have quite a beef with Oregon state legislatures on another topic, which I will outline below that you may find interesting.
Oregon lawyer David Sugerman brought the class action on behalf of customers who were charged an extra $.35 cents for debit card transactions, an amount that wasn’t advertised at the pump. I’ve always had an issue with this fee at ARCO stations because a debit card should act like cash, not credit.
According to court records, BP (British Petroleum and franchisor of ARCO stations), continued to charge the fee over 10,000 times a day, even after the lawsuit was filed in 2011. In 2014, a jury trial found BP had violated the Unlawful Trade Practices Act, so damages were increased, meaning customers will be seeing another check for $91.94 in 2020, bringing the total close to $184.
Unfair Gas “Tax” in Oregon
If you’ve never been to Oregon before, you may not know that it is illegal to fill up your vehicle with fuel. The extremely liberal legislators in the state don’t think residents are capable of fueling their own cars, presumably without spilling. The legislators passed a law many years ago forcing fuel stations owners to employ people to fill up customer cars. The problem is, these people have no special training, nor are they required to get any sort of certification to pump gas. So, what makes these fuel attendants more qualified than you and me at pumping gas? Nothing. Nothing at all!
Legislators think residents are stupid, why else would they pass such a ridiculous tax burden on to its residents? I know this for a fact as I have asked attendants questions about their training and certifications and they laughed at me, telling me there is no such requirement. I tried to call several legislators for a comment, but none returned my calls.
I should clarify, there is no official “tax” being levied, but rather the unnecessary labor costs are being passed down to the customer in the amount of $.10-$.14 cents per gallon. Now, even if there was pressure to revise the law, lawmakers won’t do it because it would look bad as they’d have to fire 10s of thousands of unnecessary employees. To make matters worse, not only are customers paying a few extra dollars every time they fill up, but they also lose valuable time of their lives. By the way, don’t think for a minute this is “full service” and that these gas pumpers will be ready when you drive up to the pump.
What are your thoughts on this $91.94 settlement. Or, of the law making it illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.