Toronto, Ontario – Suncor Energy Products will sell or rebrand all 300 of its independent Sunoco retailers in Ontario, prompting an intended class action lawsuit by the service station operators. The termination is part of Suncor’s decision to eliminate the Sunoco brand in Ontario following Suncor’s amalgamation with Petro-Canada in 2009.
The lawsuit follows on Suncor’s internal announcement last week of its intention to terminate the retailer franchise agreements of its 300 retailers. Approximately 100 retail sites will be sold in April 2010, while the remaining sites will be rebranded under the Petro-Canada banner with different operators. All 300 current Sunoco retailers will be terminated in the process.
In the lawsuit, the retailers assert that Suncor failed to comply with Ontario’s franchise legislation when they entered into their most recent franchise agreements. This entitles the retailers to rescind their franchise agreements and obtain substantial compensation.
“Suncor’s franchise operators have been treated as chattels in the amalgamation process,” said David Sterns, lawyer for the plaintiffs. “The operation of Ontario’s franchise legislation will result in Sunoco’s dealers, who built up the Sunoco brand through years of hard work and loyal service, receiving a return on their personal efforts and investments.”