What do I do if a large chain retailer refuses to pay the distributorship’s fuel surcharge? What are the guidelines for fuel surcharges?

A. The Illinois Liquor Control Commission has clarified a few of the guidelines regarding Invoice Service Charges (ISC) (which includes fuel surcharges).  Please familiarize yourself with these guidelines.

  • It is required that all ISC’s, if any, applied by a distributor be applied to all retailers without discrimination.  The Commission has clarified that if an ISC is charged by the distributor, the ISC must be applied to all retailers regardless of where the retailer is located or whether the retailer is on-premises or off-premises. 
  • Invoices must identify the ISC and the amount of the ISC applied in a line item.  All invoices must explicitly state, in legible print, that a failure to pay an end of the month ISC bill will result in an “of value” violation imposed by the Illinois Liquor Control Commission. 
  • The distributor shall have the obligation to report to the ILCC any failure by a retailer to pay an ISC on or before the day of the next delivery after the delinquency has occurred.
  • There is no reporting requirement if the distributor collects the full amount of a past due ISC invoice upon the next delivery date.
  • If the distributor does not report the failure of a retailer to pay a past due ISC and continues to deliver beer to that retailer, the ILCC will assess “of value” violations against distributor and retailer. 

If you are unable to follow these guidelines, it is highly recommended that you do not charge any retailer an ISC.  Otherwise you and the retailer will face disciplinary action.

Matt Tanaka

Matt Tanaka is a digital marketer who lives in Chicago with his beautiful wife Laura and their incredibly lazy French Bulldog, Bento. He is an experienced writer, obsessive planner and firm believer in the ability of digital tools to connect brands with their audiences.