DALLAS - An agreement has been reached in class-action lawsuits by drivers claiming they were cheated by Jiffy Lube International, according to an Associated Press report Tuesday. The lawsuits contend that Jiffy Lube added a fee to their oil-change bills and called it an environmental surcharge to fool customers into thinking it was a tax. The fee ranged from 80 cents to $1.25, and was added to the price of an oil change at 400 company-owned stores from late 1999 until April. Some but not all the 1,800 Jiffy Lubes owned by franchisees also charged fees, according to the company. An Oklahoma judge was ready to approve a settlement that would close at least nine pending cases from California to New Jersey; a similar accord has been reached in a New York case. Some customers would get $5 off their next oil change, the AP report said. A publicist hired to answer related questions said "this is a pretty common fee." This year, about one-third of the nation's oil-change garages add an environmental charge, with the average being $1.62, according to trade publication National Oil & Lube News.
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