Petron Corporation recently reported that it had terminated the contracts of 21 service station dealers for 'dumping' activities. The contracts were terminated over a 12-month period from January 2012 to January 2013.
'Dumping' occurs when service stations obtain their fuel supply from other sources with questionable quality. These fuels are then passed off as Petron products to the detriment of the consuming public who unwittingly load their vehicles with sub-standard products.
"It is our duty to make sure the consuming public only gets Petron’s top-of-the-line fuel and lubricant products whenever they go to a Petron station. We do not tolerate these illegal activities and we will continue to go after unscrupulous dealers within our network to ensure the integrity of the Petron brand," Vice-President for National Sales Archie B. Gupalor said.
Petron maintains the largest retail network in the oil industry with over 2,000 service stations across the country as of 2012.
The 'dumping' activities were uncovered after a thorough investigation backed by regular readings of the station's dispensing pumps, which showed that the quantity of products sold at the stations was greater than the quantity purchased by the dealers from Petron. Petron revealed that their pumps are equipped with monitoring systems to determine the volume dispensed, company representatives conduct regular checking as part of the company's standard operating procedure.
Petron recently filed criminal charges against a dealer in Bogo City, Cebu. The Bogo City Prosecutor's Office found probable cause on allegations by Petron that the dealer committed criminal acts of trademark infringement, unfair competition, and false designation of origin punished under RA 8293. If found guilty, the dealer faces imprisonment of up to five years and a fine of up to P200,000 for violating Sections 155, 168 and Subsection 169.1.
Over the past few years, the oil industry has been beset with unscrupulous activities including product adulteration and rampant smuggling. Unabated smuggling has caused illegal dumping wherein station dealers are enticed to get cheaper fuels and pass them off as branded products.
"We wish to reassure the motoring public that we have robust systems and procedures in place to detect and stop these illegal activities," Mr. Gupalor added.