Pilot Flying J Truck Stop/Travel Centers Being Investigated For Rebate Fraud

Pilot Flying J operates the largest number of truck stop/travel centers in the United states. Currently there are approximately 600 locations nationwide. At this time the Pilot Flying J truck stop/travel centers are being investigated for fraud over its customer rebate program.

On April 15, 2013, the headquarters of Pilot Flying J, located in West Knoxville, Tennessee, was raided by FBI and IRS agents as part of an “ongoing investigation.” On April 16, CEO Jimmy Haslam reported the investigation involved claims of failure to pay rebates to trucking customers.

Burt Newman, the vice president of Professional Transportation Partners, said rebates are a standard practice in the trucking industry. What makes Haslam’s company, Pilot Flying J, different is that the company’s rebates are so ridiculously better than other competitors that few can put up a fight, Newman said.

Although rebates are a standard practice in the trucking industry, Pilot Flying J’s rebate program was far more generous than what other competitors could offer. The generous nature of Pilot flying J’s rebates apparently made it impossible for smaller operations to compete against them.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Trucking company operators around the nation expressed surprise and disgust Friday about revelations that the Pilot Flying J truck-stop chain may have deliberately cheated its customers on rebates they were supposed to have earned on their diesel-fuel purchases.

Accusations of fraud over the rebate program, suggesting that millions of dollars were withheld from the trucking companies, were outlined in an affidavit released by the FBI on Thursday.

Knoxville-based Pilot Flying J, the nation’s largest truck-stop operator, is majority-owned and controlled by the family of Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, whose brother, Jimmy Haslam, is chief executive officer.

The affidavit sent shockwaves throughout the trucking industry, said Tommy Hodges, owner of Shelbyville, Tenn.-based Titan Transfer Inc., and a former chairman of the American Trucking Association. Read more here:

If these allegations prove to be true it would certainly be a disappointment and a betrayal of trust for customers who assumed they were being dealt with honestly.

Trucking companies and truck drivers depend upon truckstops for a variety of services. Among them are fuel, weight scales and restrooms. Many provide repair services including mobile service vans which provide assistance to drivers stranded on the roads. Many offer towing services as well. They provide showers for drivers, information, faxing/data transmission services, clothes, souvenir shops, gaming centers, load board information, truck supplies, movie theatres, exercise rooms. Some even offer walking and running trail maps. Restaurants offer a variety of food choices for patrons. Lounge areas provide comfortable areas so trucker drivers can relax and socialize with others. Drivers also have access to money transfer systems such as Comdata. The very idea that a truckstop you regularly patronize would be deliberately cheating you is disgusting.