Flying J is in a flying fit over its fuel cards.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, the
company claims that its competitors – TravelCenters of America and Pilot Travel Centers – have actively boycotted Flying J fuel debit cards at their truck
According to The Salt Lake Tribune,
the lawsuit contends that the boycott was initiated under pressure from Comdata
Corp., which controls 70 percent of the trucker fuel card market.
The dispute concerns Flying J’s TCH MasterCard fuel cards, which were
launched in the 1990s as a direct competitor to Comdata. TCH means Transportation
The Tribune reported that the fight between Flying J and Comdata has been going on since
1996, when Flying J brought an antitrust suit against Comdata, claiming that
the company had a monopoly on the fuel card market.
That suit was settled five years later without Comdata admitting to any
As part of the settlement, Comdata agreed to grant Flying J two
licenses that obligated Comdata to process the TCH cards. However, The Tribune reported that in 2002, Flying
J accused Comdata of refusing to honor one of those licenses and filed a motion
in U.S. District Court to enforce the settlement.
In an appeal to the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, Comdata
successfully argued that it did not have to process the TCH MasterCards unless
MasterCard verified that the truck stops had separate agreements with Flying J.
The Tribune reported that the current lawsuit – which Flying J said is not directly related
to the previous appeal – alleges that TA and Pilot are not honoring the TCH
cards because Comdata is pressuring them.