The Federal Trade Commission has filed a lawsuit against a fuel card company for allegedly using hidden fees and deceptive practices to cheat customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars.
FleetCor is an Atlanta-based company which provides fuel-card services under the Fuelman name. The company also provides co-branded fuel cards for many trucking companies.
Both FleetCor and its CEO, Ronald Clarke, are targets of the lawsuit. They are charged with billing customers for additional fees without disclosing them, often after a few months of the contract had passed in order to make it less likely for customers to notice them. The company also allegedly waited to deposit payments until after their due dates had passed, and then turned around and charged customers a late fee even though they had paid on time.
These allegations are in addition to the company paying back less than one cent per gallon to customers despite marketing claims that customers would save 5-10 cents per gallon.
“After sign up, FleetCor has charged customers at least hundreds of millions of dollars in unexpected fees, a practice one FleetCor employee has referred to as ‘add[ing] arbitrary fees and run[ing] off the accounts,’” reads the FTC complaint. “When customers have noticed the charges and complained to FleetCor, and FleetCor has agreed to remove them, in many instances FleetCor has begun charging these customers for different fees to make up the difference.”