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Published: Thursday, 5/5/2011

Filling station operators sue BP over software


BP filling station operators in the western United States sued BP PLC seeking $200 million in damages over allegations the company’s sales and inventory software they are forced to use is “an unmitigated disaster.”

A group of BP, Arco, and AM/PM Mini Market franchisees, based in California, Oregon, and Washington, said in a complaint filed Wednesday in Los Angeles that the software program they were forced to buy for as much as $35,000 overcharges some customers, doesn’t charge others, and periodically crashes.

The franchisees said the software program, in which BP had invested, is but one instance in which they had a contract forced upon them.

They also can buy only from suppliers that pay BP a fee, and BP’s refusal to approve alternative vendors suggested by the franchises has cost them tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in damages, according to the complaint.

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