BP ARCO class action: A straight-up win for consumers

On Friday, January 31, 2014, the jury returned its verdict in favor of BP Oregon ARCO and am-pm minimarket gas purchasers. The jury found that BP recklessly violated the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act. The 2.9 million class members are each entitled to make claims for $200. Media reports are here (OregonLive), here (KOIN-6), and here (KATU-2 pretrial)

Yes, that is a $580 million result. It is fair to say we are pleased. And proud.

We’re getting a lot of questions. I’ll try to answer some here.

So what’s next?

We are due back in court on March 7 to discuss the next round of proceedings. In the near future, we’ll start a claim form process. It’s really important that you file a claim form once the claim process opens. We do not know yet when that will happen, but we’ll note a number of resources for you here.

How do I stay informed?

We’ll continue to post updates here on this blog. We also add updates on our Facebook page. If you’re a user, like us there, and you’ll get updates and links back to the longer updates here.

You should also register with the official information page to receive official update information.

Do I need to take any action to protect my rights?

If you meet the class definition, you do not. We don’t know what requirements the court will set to prove claims. If you have access to receipts or bank records showing a gas debit card purchase with a transaction fee at Oregon ARCO or am-pm stations, it would be wise to save those documents. It may help you prove your claim.

When will consumers see their money?

Good question. BP has announced its intention to appeal. While the claim process could start as early as March (or maybe later), an appeal could string this out for years. That is why registration is important.

A few parting thoughts

We are deeply appreciative of the service provided by the jurors who served for three weeks in the trial in front of Hon. Jerome LaBarre. The entire case shows that a small group of determined consumers can take on a corporate giant like BP and have a fair trial in Oregon.

Further updates?

Well sure. When we know more, we’ll post it.

David Sugerman

Patrick Richardson says

I too have paid Arco fees unknowingly for who knows how long and am very interested in this case. Keep up the good works Mr. Sugerman.

David Sugerman says

Thanks for your kind words, Patrick. We're not about to give up. If you have not, please be sure to register at the class notice page here so that you will be notified when the claim process starts.


Jill McMahon says

I too have spent many dollars at AM/PM through the years and have just signed up to receive notices. Thank you for sticking with this process.

A side note - Safeway (at least in Beaverton) is now starting this type of charge as well. If you use a credit card vs. a debit card, the price is more. But no signs or notices are posted. The gas attendant told me me verbally. Hopefully someone brings this to their attention.

David Sugerman says

Thanks. I'm a bit surprised by Safeway. I certainly hope we don't have to smack them, too. -David

Carolyn says

I would like to keep updated but cant find a request that doesnt make u click off the class action can i get on the list. thanks

David Sugerman says

Two ways. Best is to use this link and register there. Also, if you simply follow us here on our webpage or, better, on our Facebook page by liking us here, we'll provide updates, as well.

Tirso and Terry Barce says

We would like to receive updates as we have been charged the debit card fee for a number of years. Thank you for all of your work on the case. We look forward to hearing from you.

David Sugerman says

Hoping to have more news to share in the next 7-10 days. Thanks for your kind words.


Ken says

Today I filled up at an Arco am/pm mini. My car supposedly took 17.9 gallons. Problem: The official capacity of the tank is only 17.4 gallons, which means the useable capacity is less. I can usually guess how much gas my car will take based on the gauge reading. I would have guessed around 15.5 for this fill. Also, mpg is always 21-22 with my average driving. Calculating the mpg from this fill-up would put it at 18 mpg.

Tabita rubio y David cuevas says

Creo aver usado estas tarjetas durante ese fecha como puedo saber si estoy incluido en este reclamó

David Sugerman says

Puedo responder por telefono. Haga me el favor de llamame, por favor. El número es 503.228.6474. Estaremos en la oficina, lunes a viernes, 8.30-5.00


Tabita rubio y David cuevas says

Creo aver usado estas tarjetas durante ese fecha como puedo saber si estoy incluido en este reclamó strong

Lloyd MacEachern says

The fee was clearly posted and a reminder provided on the payment system prior to pumping gas. While the fee, in my opinion, should simply be included as a cost of doing business i.e.part of the gas price, I was always aware of the charge PRIOR to making my buying decision. Further, while deciding where to go for gas on future fill ups, I knew ARCO charged that fee and either stopped in or passed them by. Again, my decision.

Consumer protection laws are there for legitimate reasons but, unfortunately, this case is not an example of those laws in action. Cloaking the suit in the guise of public service seems disingenuous.

David Sugerman says

Thanks for your comment. Apologies for the length of my response, but there are a few things that may not be a

The undisputed evidence was the fee was never on the street signs. The lack of street sign disclosures violates Oregon consumer protection law. Oregon consumer protection law also prevents retailers from adding a surcharge to the pump price. A jury found that BP violated these laws every day. The trial judge separately reached the same conclusion. That is why ARCO stations can no longer charge a debit fee on top of the price of gas.

No question that if you were a regular customer, you knew about the charge after the first illegal charge. That is why we did not allow anyone to make a claim for more than their first illegal charge.

I get that you don't like the case, but there are two other groups that might not be on your radar. First, BP's competitors. The undisputed evidence was that all the competitors complied with Oregon gas pricing rules. So BP was getting an unfair advantage over competitors. The other group that was getting hammered? The station operators. They are all contractors who had no control over the fee, but they had to take all the complaints from unhappy customers.

Feel free to opt out, if you like. Also, I am happy to answer questions that you might have. My email is david@davidsugerman.com 503.228.6474

Kat says

I moved to Oregon in 2003 and stopped at an Arco. I had to go into the store to pay and was kinda upset about that anyway because what's the point of getting your gas pumped if you have to go into the store? It was especially annoying because when you move to Oregon, one of the biggest shocks is not pumping your own gas. I went into the store with no cash, just my debit card and was again shocked to see that I had to pay 35 cents even though there was no message at the pump telling me before I had my gas pumped. I vowed never to return to Arco and I haven't.

My husband and my son both got notices about the class action lawsuit and I am so pleased that Arco is going to be punished for their actions. I probably shouldn't hold a grudge over 35 cents, but honestly, it was just so sneaky and rude and thousands of people were affected by this and they are thieves.

David Sugerman says

Thanks. One minor detail: millions affected, not thousands. But yeah.

Amanda says

Nothing is ever as good as it sounds, so I have an important question that has not been addressed.

The letter states that each member of the class could get one payment of *UP TO* $200, and that we could each be responsible for an attorney fee of *UP TO* $40 if the class action is successful. So, could any of us find ourselves in a situation where we're awarded LESS than what we owe the attorney? I don't want to lose money on something I never requested.

David Sugerman says

Sorry if this confusing. We are asking the judge to order BP pay all fees, in which you case each class member gets $200. If the judge decides decides to take some of the fees from class members, $40 is the maximum amount that would be taken from each class member. So you would see at least $160. The minimum is $160. The maximum is $200. If this is not clear or if you have other questions, please email me david@davidsugerman.com Or phone us during the week at 503.228.6474

k says

I'm getting paid but really? Every single time I got gas with a debit card, I hit "yes" to the ".35 fee added ?" How is that hidden?

David Sugerman says

The first time you bought gas, you would not have known about the debit card fee because it was not on the street sign. That is the first violation. At virtually every ARCO, you would have paid inside, and you would have hit "yes" after the gas was in your tank. In Oregon, a gas retailer cannot charge more than the the total on the pump ($/gallon * number of gallons), but they added 35 cents to the price. In addition to violating gas pricing laws, they were also unfairly competing with stations that were following the law. The court issued an injunction. Go to any Oregon ARCO station, and all prices will now be fairly charged.

The recovery is only for your first transaction. Each customer illegally charged gets only the first purchase. By the way, BP (ARCO's owner) was illegally charging this fee 13,000 times per day in Oregon.

Jeramy M. says

I am wondering what's the current status of this whole lawsuit, I didn't get my notice until very late 2014 (around November/December) and have yet to hear anything new about the situation. When I was notified, there was no mention of Oregon finding BP guilty, it just said something about February.
You'd expect a case of this magnitude to have regular updates either electronically or by mail to those who didn't option out.

David Sugerman says

Hi Jeramy-
The short version is that we are still in the trial court waiting on entry of judgment. But it's a bit more complicated than that. We have had some recent developments, and I will do a post today or tomorrow to provide an update. If you use Facebook, our firm page gets more frequent short updates. Here is the link. You can also call us at 503.228.6474 if you have questions. (Hoping that the link shows...Wordpress does not always love my tablet, and I am only half competent at such things. You can also find is by searching Facebook for David F. Sugerman, Attorney.) -David

Kelly gatlin says

Its been 5 years and nothing has happened? When will it go forward

David Sugerman says

Kelly-While it's not apparent, quite a lot has happened. It took a long time to get a judgment entered because a change in the law required further activity in the trial court. And then judgment was entered, and BP appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. Once judgment was entered, the judgment began to collect interest, so at least we're getting the benefit of the delay now. The case was argued in the Oregon Court of Appeals in August of 2017. There is no fixed deadline for the Court of Appeals to issue an opinion. We expect that court to decide the case before the end of the year, but it could go longer. And the party that loses the appeal could ask the Oregon Supreme Court to review the case, which could add another year or two to the life of the case. So yes, it has taken a long time, but we always expected it would.

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