A federal appeals panel has sided with the Bridgestone tire company in upholding the dismissal of a putative class action triggered by a $1.20 shop supplies fee tacked onto a Missouri customer’s bill.
The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on May 13 agreed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri that a Manchester, Mo., Bridgestone store was not deceptive in adding the generalized fee to the bill of Patricia Toben’s daughter when she bought a tire replacement in 2007. Read the court ruling here.
In Toben v. Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, Toben alleged the fee was not directly related to any supplies or services provided, and that the store disguised the “shop supply” fee as a legitimate charge when in fact the fee amounted to profit for the company.
Bridgestone argued the fee did generate some profit, but that it was a legitimate charge for such incidentals as protective seat and steering wheel covers, rags and shop towels, lubricants and assorted sprays. A sign in the store noted that, for work amounting to more than $30, a 6 percent supply fee would be added. The sign described the charge as representing “costs and profit.” A similar notice appeared on the invoice signed by Toben’s daughter.
After Bridgestone filed a motion for summary judgment, Toben requested a stay on that matter until merits discovery could take place. Bridgestone argued that discovery was not relevant to its motion. Both the district and appeals courts agreed with the company.
Toben had alleged Bridgestone had violated the Missouri Merchandising Practices Act.
Lisa Hoffman contributes to law.com.