The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed a new administrative complaint against FleetCor and its CEO, Ronald Clarke, for allegedly charging customers hundreds of millions of dollars in mystery fees associated with fuel cards.
FleetCor is marketed under the “Fuelman” brand name and has co-branded cards with businesses around the country. The FTC maintains that FleetCor falsely told its business customers that they would save money, be protected from unauthorized charges, and have no set-up, transaction, or membership fees.
The FTC alleges that, according to FleetCor’s records, customers generally have not achieved the advertised per-gallon savings by using FleetCor’s cards.
The FTC filed suit in federal court against FleetCor and Clarke in December 2019, alleging that they charged hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden and undisclosed fees to their customers after making false promises they could save customers on their fuel costs.
In a ruling earlier this year, the Supreme Court determined that the FTC was not able to seek redress for consumers under section 13(b) of the FTC Act.
The new administrative complaint alleges that FleetCor and Clarke violated section 5 of the FTC Act. It was filed to ensure that the agency’s case against the fuel card marketer is still able to recover money lost by consumers, the agency said
“FleetCor fleeced its customers out of hundreds of millions of dollars through its dishonest practices,” said Samuel Levine, acting director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “The FTC will do everything it can to get money back to FleetCor’s business customers and unsuspecting fuel card users by refiling this complaint administratively. We will also continue to work with Congress on a broader legislative solution following the Supreme Court’s decision in AMG, which has hindered our ability to recover redress for families and honest businesses.”
The Commission vote to issue the administrative complaint was 4-1. Commissioner Noah Phillips voted “yes” but dissented in part as to the inclusion of Ronald Clarke as an individual defendant. Commissioner Christine S. Wilson voted “no,” including as to the inclusion of Ronald Clarke as an individual defendant, but concurred in part as to Counts III, IV, and V against FleetCor.