Manual rebate calculations — the source of the fraud accusations against Pilot Flying J — are close to being eliminated at the company, said owner and CEO Jimmy Haslam in a prepared statement to the media last week.
Ending manual rebate calculations at the company “has almost been accomplished,” Haslam said, referring to an April 22 statement in which he said the company — as part of a five-step plan to try to ensure the company no longer would be fraudulently withholding fuel rebates — would be moving all of its customers to electronically calculated rebates.
In addition to the near elimination of manual calculations, Haslam said last week the sales department is no longer handling the manual calculation.
In the statement, Haslam also discussed the other four points of his plan, including the field audits that the company began in April. Haslam said then the company would be reviewing all of its customer accounts that had been on manual rebate calculations.
Those were completed June 30, Haslam said, and customers were notified in all instances in which the team found a discrepancy. As CCJ reported in June, the company then sent customers checks for the difference, along with interest.
“We are finding discrepancies in a relatively small number of our almost 7,000 diesel fuel sales customer accounts audited, and that the amount we’ve paid to correct those discrepancies represents a very small percentage of our overall diesel fuel sales,” Haslam said.
The checks with interest are also part of the settlement deal Pilot reached in Arkansas court in August, in which the company agreed to pay all affected members of the class what they were owed in fuel rebates, along with 6 percent interest and attorney’s fees.
Also in his update, Haslam said seven members of the company’s diesel sales team have pleaded guilty to criminal charges. “Others have been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the ongoing investigation,” he said.
Pilot, however, is not releasing their names.
Pilot also has, per its April 22 announcement, assembled an outside counsel and created a compliance officer position to “ensure that this type of activity never happens again at Pilot Flying J,” Haslam said.
The committee is currently reviewing the company’s policies and will make recommendations afterward.