Jury: BP gas stations wrongly charged customers

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - A Multnomah County jury says BP West Coast Products wrongly charged 35 cents extra to Oregon consumers who paid for gas with a debit card at Arco stations and AmPm minimarkets.

The case alleged that BP didn't follow Oregon laws in alerting customers of the charge and that many customers were not aware of the charge until the gas was already pumped into their car.

The Oregonian reports the jury's decision on Friday allows consumers who bought gas between Jan. 1, 2011, and Aug. 31, 2013, to recover up to $200 for the violations of the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act.

The company said it was disappointed with the verdict and plans to appeal, but it will no longer charge the 35 cent fee as it reviews "options and alternatives." BP also said the debit card fee is not a fee on the prices of gasoline.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said the company "continues to believe that the debit card fee is a reasonable method to cover bank transaction fees and is not part of the price of gasoline or goods offered at ARCO retail locations..."

The case was originally filed in December 2011 and sought to create a class out of Oregon customers who'd paid the fees at any of about 50 stations.

In Oregon, attendants pump gas for consumers at stations. Consumers at ARCO can pay with cash or debit cards.

The case was brought by Portland lawyer David Sugerman. He could not comment on the case, which will move into a new phase on Monday. A statement from Sugerman's office said nearly 3 million people are covered by the class action suit.