Since the launch of BP’s recent multi-million dollar advertising campaign, speculation has arisen from both the opposing and supporting sides of BP’s efforts. BP’s ads, Fraud Hotline, and overall press have been a continuous and firm effort to deter potential claimants from being evaluated under the Settlement Program designed to address the economic losses experienced by businesses in Gulf coast counties as a result of the 2010 BP oil spill.
BP has found some support in its efforts, such as with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, whose President was quoted as saying that BP is paying fraudulent and fictious funds to those who were not truly affected by the spill. But, plaintiffs counsel, and the Program’s own Administrator, have been quick to respond that the filings of falsified claims are in fact baseless.
Some journalists and businesses are beginning to question BPs tactics. Is BP being forthright in its allegations? Everyone can agree that fraud is unacceptable, but is BP cherry-picking a select few fringe claims to talk about in order to chill all claim filings and reduce its overall costs? The Program has been under investigation after a possible conflict of interest was identified within an office processing claims. That investigation, however, found nothing, with AP reporting that it “hasn’t turned up any evidence of fraud.”
With 7 months left to file a claim, the Court has reaffirmed time and again that the formulas BP agreed to in the Settlement Program remain fair and reasonable, and are being applied properly. Many are calling it buyer’s remorse, as the oil giant continues to pay out millions in recovery funds each month.