Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image The lottery winner picked clean by Shell

EXTRACT: We also received many letters from Shell stations complaining bitterly about the business practices of Shell. Here is a selection of quotes from some of the letters: –

“Extremely bad company”

“I believe the current regime is totally immoral”

“We have serious concerns about Shell’s ethical conduct”.  


There is report published today of a lottery winner in the USA having to go bankrupt after investing millions of dollars in four Shell gas stations.

Unfortunately there is nothing new about Shell tricking people into investing their time and money in running Shell gas stations believing that they are dealing with an ethical oil company.

Countless numbers of people have been ruthlessly exploited by Shell only to ultimately be thrown out of their sites once their funds and enthusiasm has been exhausted as a result of unfair agreements and predatory business practises by Shell.

We first became aware of Shell’s disgraceful treatment of Shell licencees over a decade ago when we founded the Shell Corporate Conscience Pressure Group. The inspiration for the name of the pressure group arose from an article in the September 1994 issue of the Shell “Chairman’s Bulletin” sent to Shell shareholders, which claimed a culture of “corporate conscience” at Shell.

Our membership included Shell suppliers, fellow Shell shareholders and Shell retailers – amazingly nearly 15% of Shell UK retailers joined the pressure group.

Several hundred Shell retailers participated in our “business ethic” surveys about Shell. We published the results in successive monthly whole page notices in the forecourt trade press. All responses were opened under the supervision of an independent solicitor who provided an Affidavit verifying the results, which were devastatingly bad for Shell.

89% of respondents said that they would not recommend any petrol retailer considering a brand change to switch to Shell. 

75% of the Shell stations that participated were of the opinion that Shell was unethical, incompetent, and greedy. 

Shell never did take up our challenge to commission and publish the results of independent research, using precisely the same questions and offering respondents GUARANTEED anonymity.

We also received many letters from Shell stations complaining bitterly about the business practices of Shell. Here is a selection of quotes from some of the letters: –

“Extremely bad company”

“I believe the current regime is totally immoral”

“We have serious concerns about Shell’s ethical conduct”.

“The fickle nature and lack of honour within our negotiations were a shock to ourselves coming from a large company…  We would hope this letter may help you and serve as a warning to others contemplating any form of activity with this company”.

“You are not alone in being steamrollered by this company”.

It is clear from the news stories which emerge from time to time from the USA that Shell uses the same tactics in that market.



I hope that Shell UK is thoroughly ashamed at the articles published in the January 1999 edition of Forecourt Trader concerning its relationship with Shell station operators.

We knew from our recent retailer survey of over 1500 Shell stations that all is not well. 55% of respondents said that Shell UK operates in an unethical manner. 50% said Shell’s STATEMENT OF GENERAL BUSINESS PRINCIPLES is a sham. 

Shell did not take up our public challenge to commission and publish the results of independent research asking the same questions and offering respondents GUARANTEED anonymity. We now know the reason why.  They have good reason to avoid taking any action that would further confirm the disgust in which they are held by a growing number of Shell retailers.

Forecourt Trader reports that it has been contacted by a number of Shell retailers who have a list of serious grievances against Shell.  All insisted on remaining anonymous apparently out of fear of reprisal by Shell.  They complained that Shell’s actions were rendering their businesses unprofitable.  In other words, Shell’s greed is sending them broke.

Forecourt Trader was so concerned that it conducted its own poll of Shell operators. It has published their comments, all of which strongly criticised Shell. Again, none wanted to be identified. According to the report, Shell actually has a quick-response team ready to take over sites where the operators have given up and handed back their keys. Apparently “the team is stretched to breaking point”. That situation alone speaks volumes.  Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Shell denies that there are problems.
A number of Shell station operators have contacted us during the period of my families’ problems with Shell. They have made very serious allegations, including for example, that Shell is evil and immoral. Such is the apparent degree of intimidation by Shell that most have insisted on remaining anonymous.

One has however been prepared to go on the record. Former Police Officer, Mr Patrick Bradshaw, from Hayes in Middlesex, had a long business relationship with Shell.  He operated a number of Shell stations. He has written to Mr Mark Moody-Stuart, Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, alleging that Shell UK robbed him of his livelihood due to the underhand manner and deceit of Shell UK management. He also mentioned in his letter the “bully boy tactics” that we have become so familiar with during the tenure of Dr Fay, the “feudal baron” Chairman of Shell UK who has suddenly opted for “retirement”.

As a result of the stress brought about by Shell’s actions, Mr Bradshaw was left in a distressed state, both physically and financially. I note that the term “distressed”, was used by Forecourt Trader in relation to the feelings of the operators still being exploited by this unsavoury oil giant. 

Mr Bradshaw has given me permission to publish extracts from a letter that he has sent to Mr John McDonnell MP.  In the letter, he says: “I feel that I have been treated totally unfair by a large multi-national company that has the power and the finance to push me aside.  Management can falsify the truth without a moment’s hesitation…” He mentions “Shell’s ruthlessness and cheating practices” and also states “Shell’s bad reputation stems solely from the actions of its senior management”. 

It appears historians were wrong in believing that the “robber baron” age had ended. Oil baron Shell self-evidently operates oppressively and exploitatively, using the ancient tactics of fear and intimidation against the modern day equivalent of the peasant – small traders being forced to operate on the breadline.  That is the unpalatable truth of the matter.

The HQ of Royal Dutch Petroleum, the effective owner of Shell UK (with a 60% shareholding in the Royal Dutch/Shell Group) is located in The Hague, a city renowned throughout the world as being a beacon of justice. It is therefore ironic that Royal Dutch Petroleum is continuing to allow the unscrupulous actions of the British owned (40%) of the Anglo-Dutch group to destroy the reputation of the Shell brand. 

Published by Alfred Donovan – Chairman, Shell Shareholders Org.
St Andrews Castle, Bury St Edmunds, IP33 3PH. Tel: 0411 526 769.
Fax: 01284 760529    Website:

This website and sisters,,,, and, are owned by John Donovan. There is also a Wikipedia segment.

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