On Tuesday, a federal judge in Arkansas tentatively approved the settlement of a nationwide class action made up of customers victimized by alleged (or, in light of five federal guilty pleas from company executives, actual) customer fraud. Based on a report from WATE-TV in Little Rock, the settlement, if finalized, will cost the company millions.
Every member of the class will receive 100 percent of the amounts owed to them by Pilot Flying J, plus six percent interest. Though the specific amount of reimbursements isn’t known, legal fees alone would amount to $14 million.
Final approval of the settlement will be considered at a hearing to be held on November 25.
“I commend all of these individuals for their hard work and dedication to ensuring our customers are paid back quickly and fairly for any potential discrepancies found in their accounts,” said Pilot Flying J CEO (and Browns owner) Jimmy Haslam.
“This is an unfortunate time for our customers and our company, but we remain committed to making things 100 percent right with our customers, to put systems in place to help ensure this does not happen again, and to re-earn our customers trust.”
Still, a significant question arises from the commitment to refund every customer every dollar that wasn’t paid: How will the amounts due be determined?
It could be that Pilot Flying J will calculate an amount for each class member, and that each class member will have an opportunity to object or to challenge the amount. Without an independent and reliable process for determining what’s owed, however, relying on the company to make the calculations would sort of be like asking the fox to take inventory of the carcasses in the henhouse.