Woodland, CA – December 11, 2018 – Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig, along with the District Attorneys of Contra Costa, Riverside, and Santa Cruz Counties, announced that on December 3, 2018, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge John Kennedy ordered Chevron U.S.A. Inc. to pay $141,355 as part of settlement of a civil consumer prosecution. According to the District Attorneys’ complaint, Chevron consistently failed to comply with a California law requiring Chevron to cash out gift cards with balances under $10 upon request.
The civil action was based, in part, upon undercover District Attorney Investigators randomly surveying 55 Chevron stations throughout the state to determine whether they were in compliance with the law that requires card issuers, like Chevron, to pay gift cardholders in cash or check when the balance on the card dips below $10 if the cardholder makes the request. There are 14 Chevron stations in Yolo County.
Additionally, at dual pricing stations—meaning stations that charge different prices for cash purchases versus a credit card purchases—District Attorney Investigators were tasked with determining whether the stations were appropriately charging the cash price when a gift card is used for the purchase. The law requires that stations charge the cash price when a gift card is used for the purchase. In several instances, Chevron stations failed to charge the cash price.
Without admitting wrongdoing, Chevron agreed to pay $141,355 in civil penalties, restitution, and costs. The judgment also prohibits Chevron from violating applicable laws and requires Chevron to institute a compliance program. That program includes procedures to ensure that store personnel, both corporate employees and independent retailers using the Chevron logo, are advised to instruct gift cardholders with balances under $10 on the process for redeeming these gift cards for cash or check upon the cardholder’s request. Moreover, signs to that effect must be posted at the point of sale, on the Internet and on the back of the gift cards.
Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig lauded the action and result. “Protecting consumers and ensuring they are able to obtain benefits for which they are entitled is a fundamental purpose of this office.”