BP and Shell stations sue rival for selling petrol too cheaply

  • 22/03/2022

The owners of two fuel stations in the US are suing a rival company, claiming it's not slapping a high enough price tag on its petrol.

According to court documents, the companies that own the Wisconsin-based petrol stations - one a BP and the other a Shell - want NZ$116,420 in damages from a nearby Woodman's outlet, local news station WISN reported. Woodman's is a regional supermarket franchise that also sells petrol.  

The documents allege Woodman's is underpricing its petrol and "illegally" outpricing the BP and Shell stations. The three outlets are all based in the city of Waukesha.

They also accuse Woodman's of breaching Wisconsin's Unfair Sales Act by selling petrol lower than prices allowed by the state, Waukesha newspaper The Freeman reported. 

In response to the lawsuit, Woodman's lawyers Emily Stedman and Eric Meyer highlighted allowances in the state's Unfair Trading Act. Those allowances apparently grant a company permission to sell petrol below the legal price - should it be for the purpose of matching a competitor's price.

"These assertions lack any basis in law or fact," the lawyers said, as reported by The Freeman.

"First, on two dates, the Waukesha Woodman's sold gas above the statutory price. Second, on the 38 other dates, the Waukesha Woodman's lawfully set its price of regular, unleaded fuel to match/attempt to match the Pewaukee Costco, which is one of Woodman's competitors."

As a result, the lawyers argued Woodman's was exempt from the lawsuit and want it to be dismissed.

The matter is set to go to trial later this year.