About a month after reports surfaced that commercial fleet payments technology firm FLEETCOR is facing a lawsuit over claims of anticompetitive behavior, a new report from Citron Research is accusing the company of clean energy fraud.
On Friday (June 7), MarketWatch said Citron's report claims FLEETCOR is operating "the largest clean energy fraud in U.S. history," arguing that the company's Clean Advantage program, which enables customers to make their fleets carbon neutral or zero emission, uses less than 1 percent of the money customers pay into the program to actually offset carbon footprints.
The report calls for the resignation of FLEETCOR CEO Ronald Clarke, and claims that none of the firm's investors mention the program in presentations or filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, the report notes that fees paid into the Clean Advantage program are not among the fees that some customers and analysts have dubbed controversial or excessive.
Earlier this year, reports in Bloomberg noted some of FLEETCOR’s small business customers are arguing that the company's fees are too high, citing "more than a dozen fees" to use fleet cards, including per-gallon and per-transaction fees, as well as fees to pay bills via wire transfer and fees for unused cards.
In defense of those fees, however, former FLEETCOR VP Jeff Lamb told the publication that "the company figures out the easiest way to make money. That's not a dumb thing to do –that's smart."
In addition to controversy over fleet card fees and its clean energy program, another headache has emerged for FLEETCOR this year in the form of a lawsuit filed by gas station point-of-sale startup Gas Pos, which is accusing FLEETCOR of anticompetitive practices to control the industry through its subsidiary Comdata Network.
"Fuel retailers lose billions a year due to the fees charged by fleet fuel card networks such as those provided by WEX's EFS and FLEETCOR's Comdata," Gas Pos said.