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Shell’s Exploitation of Gas Station Operators

Screen Shot 2014-05-25 at 21.53.51I confirm that in my experience Shell UK operates oppressively against small business people. Its staff has acted unscrupulously and possibly illegally. The tactics of Shell UK management is completely opposite to the honesty and integrity promised by Shell in its code of ethics. Shell seems to think that it is so all-powerful that it can steamroller over any small business people who complain about its scandalous business practices.

Sheila Gee

By John Donovan

Yesterday I published an article revealing that Shell has been found guilty of fuel price fixing in Italy.

I have now found out more about the background.

It seems that Shell has been up to its old tricks of ruthlessly exploiting and manipulating Shell fuel station managers operating on a semi-franchise type system.

We have seen the same tactics in the UK, the USA, Germany, India and now Italy.

We have already published a letter received from a throughly disillusioned German businessman Peter Wittig, who for several years, operated a Shell petrol station in Germany.

A letter once received from a Shell UK stain operator says it all….

Dear Mr Donovan

I have just read your leaflet entitled “RETURN OF THE ROBBER BARONS”.

My husband and I have been Shell station operators for 5½ years up until 31st March 1999. Along with many other operators, our site has been taken over by Shell and is now being directly managed by them.

We suffered substantial losses from August 1998 when the new operating contracts came in. The new terms imposed by Shell made it impossible to conduct our business on a profitable basis. I am aware that many other operators have also been forced out of business by Shell. I understand that you will be publishing letters from some of them in coming weeks.

My husband and I experienced the “Bully Boy Tactic” mentioned in your leaflet. The Shell Regional Manager, Mr Stephen Gregory, came on to our site and issued a 48-hour ultimatum. We were told to comply with his edict or we would be out immediately. Such ruthless conduct must be immoral.

I confirm that in my experience Shell UK operates oppressively against small business people. Its staff has acted unscrupulously and possibly illegally. The tactics of Shell UK management is completely opposite to the honesty and integrity promised by Shell in its code of ethics.

Shell seems to think that it is so all-powerful that it can steamroller over any small business people who complain about its scandalous business practices.

How dare they spend £25 million on a public relations campaign to promote Shell’s reputation when they treat people so appallingly. I understand that the Shell Shareholders Organisation intends to ask the Advertising Standards Authority to investigate Shell’s campaign on the grounds that the public is being misled about Shell’s integrity. A number of former Agent Operators, including my husband and I, will be pleased to supply evidence to an ASA investigation.

I also intend to take my case up in person with Shell Chairman, Mr Mark Moody-Stuart, at the forthcoming Shell Annual General Meeting. Several other former Shell Agent Operators will also be in attendance to protest in the strongest terms against the wicked policies of Shell, which have driven many other decent hardworking people and us to despair and destitution.

Yours sincerely
Sheila Gee

SHELL ALSO TRIED TO DRIVE U.S. GAS STATION OPERATORS OUT OF BUSINESS

In the USA, “a federal jury awarded more than $3 million to eight Massachusetts gas station operators after finding Shell Oil Co. used unfair tactics that were effectively intended to drive them out of business.The jury voted yes to the question of whether Shell ”in bad faith” set wholesale gasoline prices ”that were not commercially reasonable,” court documents said.”: “We’ve been vindicated,” said Mike Corbett, owner of City Square Shell in Charlestown, a member of a group of area dealers who’ve been battling Shell for more than four years over control of their stations. “This is big for us. They beat us up for so many years. It was terrible what they did,” he said. (Extracts from a Boston Globe article published in December 2004)

After a three-week trial, the jury found that Royal Dutch/Shell Group of Companies violated state and federal regulations by raising the price of wholesale gasoline to the dealers and ending a long-standing rent subsidy program. The franchisees sued four years ago, claiming Shell was attempting to drive them out of business so it could operate the stations itself.”; “The jury’s $3.3 million award is likely to grow by millions when interest and attorneys fees are factored in, said the franchisees’ lawyer, Gary Greenburg, who called the verdict a “total victory” for his clients.”(Extract from Telegraph.com article published December 2004)

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE US litigation: Shell tried to drive Shell gas station operators out of business

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