MARTINEZ — A group of California district attorney’s offices, led by Contra Costa County, secured $141,000 in fines and restitution from Chevron for a gift card system that violated state law, the agencies announced Friday.
There were two problems with Chevron’s gift card system cited by authorities: It charged users credit prices for gas, not cash prices — which are generally lower — and it failed to alert users that gift cards with a balance of less than $10 could be redeemed for cash.
In agreement with four county DA offices — Contra Costa, Santa Cruz, Yolo and Riverside — Chevron agreed to pay $100,000 in fines, as well as another $16,000 in restitution. The company also agreed to pay $25,000 to the four counties, to cover investigation costs, according to court records.
State law requires not only that gift cards valued less than $10 be redeemed for cash, but also that they contain writing informing users of this. The investigation found that neither of these things was happening.
Court records indicate that Chevron negotiated a deal with the four DA offices almost immediately after the company was informed of the violations. The agreement doesn’t require Chevron to admit wrongdoing, just to pay the fines and restitution, and to make the gift card system comply with state law.
“Once these violations were called to the attention of Chevron management, Chevron has been extremely cooperative in working out a resolution,” according to a Contra Costa DA news release.
The case was filed in Contra Costa County civil court by the DA’s fraud unit. Chevron has its headquarters in San Ramon.
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