The owners of 17 branded BP gas stations/convenience stores in Illinois, are suing the Naperville, Ill.-based company, alleging that it increased gas prices unfairly, the Naperville Sun reported.
On Tuesday, attorneys filed an amended claim for the 17 stations, which include franchisees in Glen Ellyn, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Plainfield, Aurora, Yorkville and Oswego.
“These owners are fighting BP to bring the best possible gasoline prices to the customers,” attorney Carmen Caruso of Chicago-based Stahl Cowen told the Naperville Sun.
Locked into 20-year contracts on their stores, the plaintiffs are not permitted to convert their stations to other brands, and they allege BP and its jobbers are now setting gas prices too high in an effort to drive the dealers out of business and to force them to sell out at huge losses.
According to a press release, the plaintiffs are claiming:
- BP’s sale of gasoline station and convenience store franchises fails to comply with the consumer protection provisions of the Illinois Franchise Disclosure Act.
- Fraud by BP in a “sealed bid” process that was overseen by co-defendant NRC in inducing the plaintiffs to become the owner/operators of BP branded gasoline stations and convenience stores, and to purchase real estate and other assets from BP at inflated prices.
- Breach of contract by BP in failing to set its gasoline prices in good faith and assigning the fuel supply contracts to “jobbers” (co-defendants Atlas and Graham), which led to even worse pricing for these dealers and their customers.
- Breach of contract by BP in converting from the BP Connect/Wild Bean Café convenience store to “am/pm”, which is a lower-grade program, without doing adequate market research.
Amoco spokesman Scott Dean said they were unaware a press release had been issued on the suit. He added, the company does not comment on pending litigation.