Can A Company Driver Be Forced To Pay For Fuel?

Topic 27573 | Page 1

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Traci R.'s Comment
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My fiancee and I are company drivers, driving a company owned and maintained truck. The company is tiny, with only 2 power units and 2 dry van trailers. We are paid per job which is paid as a bank to bank quick pay transfer.

Now, when it comes to fuel, the company prefers that we pay using our personal Chase bank debit card. After fueling, we send a photo of the receipt, and then they reimburse us. Obviously, this isnt always possible considering that our own personal expenses are handled through the same account and we dont always have $500 or more to use. In the past, when we weren't able to front the fuel cost, we would just send a message asking for the money and the owner would transfer the money to our bank account as a "prepayment".

But last night, after getting loaded, we were down below $50 in our bank account, so weren't able to get fuel. Worse yet, we couldn't get ahold of anyone to send us the money. We ended up sitting at a truck stop until 10am this morning, without a single word from anyone. This delay made us miss our 6am delivery appointment (300 miles away) and our next pickup that was scheduled for 10am - which is another 150 miles from there.

When they finally responded, we were asked, "why didn't you keep calling? I dont always hear my messages." It didn't matter that we had called and messaged him and the another person who dispatches us, more than a dozen times.

Can the company operate like this? If we cant afford to fuel their truck and cant reach anyone to pay for the fuel we need, can the company force us to use our last dollar to keep moving?

Dry Van:

A trailer or truck that that requires no special attention, such as refrigeration, that hauls regular palletted, boxed, or floor-loaded freight. The most common type of trailer in trucking.
PackRat's Comment
member avatar

I would think they can’t force you to do anything, but since you adhered to their demands or policies, you are suffering the consequences.

The question I have is why would you go through this at a tiny company with limited resources in the first place? I would move on in a hurry.

Donna M.'s Comment
member avatar

Wow! I learn so much about other trucking companies, here!

Grandpa's Comment
member avatar

Two trucks and two trailers both company operated, eh?

Asking the driver on a company truck to pay for fuel out of their personal credit card or bank account tells me this company is not financially stable enough to secure a fuel account through one of several money transfer systems. You mean they cant even wire you funds through Western Union? It is not your responsibility to fuel their truck out of your own pocket and run the risk of being bilked out of your money. Something is bad wrong here.

There are too many companies that have legitimate money transfer services to have to do this. Unless your driving record and employment history is so bad no one else will hire you dont walk RUN to another reputable company. This system just gives me the willies.

EPU:

Electric Auxiliary Power Units

Electric APUs have started gaining acceptance. These electric APUs use battery packs instead of the diesel engine on traditional APUs as a source of power. The APU's battery pack is charged when the truck is in motion. When the truck is idle, the stored energy in the battery pack is then used to power an air conditioner, heater, and other devices

Bobcat_Bob's Comment
member avatar

Why even put up with this much trouble? Most company drivers swipe their fuel card and go. No worry about wait to be reimbursed, this arraignment you have seems like a good way to be out a few hundred dollars.

IDMtnGal 's Comment
member avatar

As Grandpa said, RUN, don't walk away from that company. I've driven for a company that DOT shut down. They were juggling funds all the time, but even they kept their EFS fuel card current.

No, do NOT pay for fuel ever. Have them get you back to the terminal immediately. In the meantime, put in job apps everywhere and go to another company.

Laura

Terminal:

A facility where trucking companies operate out of, or their "home base" if you will. A lot of major companies have multiple terminals around the country which usually consist of the main office building, a drop lot for trailers, and sometimes a repair shop and wash facilities.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Errol V.'s Comment
member avatar

Traci, if you received a 1099, and not W-2s, the company is not paying you in a legal manner. A 1099 "full paycheck" with no deductions is for independent contractors but it sounds like your boss is treating you like employees.

Any if your two-truck company ever comes up short leaving you buying your oven fuel, I'm sure you may be stuck owning 300 gallons of diesel.

Unless there's more that you haven't told us (like being part of a family relationship) you'd better move on to a more secure company.

Traci R.'s Comment
member avatar

Thank you everyone! I agree with everything said here - 100%. I raised my concerns very loudly when the owner expected this from us on our first load. I have been very uncomfortable with many of the company's business practices. I have a master's in healthcare administration and a bachelor's in business, so I knew from a practical standpoint that this wasn't on the up and up. But I've come to notice that the trucking industry seems to have many unconventional practices, which is why I figured I should probably seek some guidance from the professionals who have the experience to pass onto me :)

As for my fiancee's driving record, he's got a perfect CSA score and no tickets or accidents. Never done a drug or even drank a sip of alcohol. I did get him pretty hooked on coffee lol. But he's the "dont rock the boat" type and being that he moved out here to California from Alabama to be with me, I think he's afraid of being unemployed in this socialist state.

CSA:

Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA)

The CSA is a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) initiative to improve large truck and bus safety and ultimately reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities that are related to commercial motor vehicle

Dm:

Dispatcher, Fleet Manager, Driver Manager

The primary person a driver communicates with at his/her company. A dispatcher can play many roles, depending on the company's structure. Dispatchers may assign freight, file requests for home time, relay messages between the driver and management, inform customer service of any delays, change appointment times, and report information to the load planners.
Traci R.'s Comment
member avatar

The question I have is why would you go through this at a tiny company with limited resources in the first place? I would move on in a hurry.

We keep being told that there's a company credit card for fuel, coming for us. 2 weeks ago, we were told he would give it to us "on saturday" but that never happened. I think it's pretty obvious as to why we've never received it at this point. But my fiancee is stubborn and says that they've always paid us without an issue. That is, until this fuel incident. Now he's worried about losing a job

Traci R.'s Comment
member avatar

Traci, if you received a 1099, and not W-2s, the company is not paying you in a legal manner. A 1099 "full paycheck" with no deductions is for independent contractors but it sounds like your boss is treating you like employees.

We don't receive either a 1099 or a W2. This has been another huge concern for me. We dont receive pay stubs or any type of payment breakdown. Just the $500 or $600 per job transferred into our bank account

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