• Report: #826526

Complaint Review: Thrifty Propane

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  • Submitted: Sat, January 21, 2012
  • Updated: Mon, November 26, 2012

  • Reported By: Dave — Springboro Ohio United States of America
Thrifty Propane
PO Box 2018 Medina, Ohio United States of America

Thrifty Propane Thrifty Propane of Medina Ohio Propane delivery fraud - Delivered 710 gallons and charged me for 800 gallons Medina, Ohio

*UPDATE Employee: Gauges are for estimates, Meters are regulated by the State

*Consumer Suggestion: How propane tanks are filled

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On 16 Jan 2012, I checked my propane tank and it was at 9% full.  I called Thrifty Propane an hour later.  On 17 Jan 2012, delivery driver indicated that he delivered "800.5 gallons" of propane when the actual amount was approximately 710 gallons.  As I said, I had been reading the gauge periodically about once a week for the months of Dec and Jan as it ran down from 30% to 10%, because I knew the tank was running low.  I checked the tank again the day before delivery (16 Jan) and it read 9% full on a 1000 gallon tank (roughly 90 gallons).  The Thrifty propane driver delivered propane while I was at work (17 Jan), and left a receipt on the door that said he had delivered 800.5 gallons.  I ran to the propane tank that night to check it because the max safety limit on the tank is 800 gallons, and I thought he might have overfilled the tank.  Most propane tanks are rated at 80% capacity to prevent overpressure. [continued below]....
.....  However, the gauge read exactly 80% (800 gallons).  There is NO WAY that I could use 90 gallons of propane in one day.  Absolutely no way.  I don't even think a small leak could dissipate that much propane in one day.  The usage rate in January is no more than 5 gal/day on the worst day, and that would be an extraordinary event.  And the temperature that delivery day was 50 degrees.  it was unusually warm.  I called customer service, and he told me that they routinely filled propane tanks to 85% (which is patently UNTRUE.  Propane tanks should never be filled above 80% to allow for expansion).  When I told him that I had checked the tank, and it was exactly at the 80% mark, he became irritated, and said he needed to transfer me to the sales department.  When he said this, I told him that I thought he was giving me the run-around, and if that was the case I had no options but to file a police report.  He said I was threatening him (which I didn't) and hung up on me.  The whole thing was very strange and surreal, because I'd never had any issues like this on any previous deliveries. I was a little ticked off at this point, but kept my cool and called the sales department.  A sales rep ("Vicky") answered, and was very polite and professional, unlike the previous gentleman.  She took my complaint, acknowledged that my story fit my historical profile of past deliveries, all of which had been between 690-700 gallons, because I always order at the 10% mark.  She then promised to relay my complaint to "Dee", her supervisor, who would call me at 1 of 2 numbers I provided her.  I thanked her for her time and believed the issue would be resolved.  But Dee never called.  I called the sales department back on 19 Jan at 4:20 PM, after giving them 2 days to respond.  A man answered and said neither Vicki nor Dee were available, but he would be happy to help.  I explained the history, and he read the notes in the computer and said something about "gauges sometimes stick", and that he wasn't calling me a liar, but he's never heard of having any issues with drivers.  He then said that the computer said that Dee called and left a message.  I checked both voicemails, no messages of any kind were left.  he promised to relay the message to Dee again to call.  I made one more call to the sales department, and finally on 20 Jan/6:30 PM EST I returned home from work to find the supervisor (Dee) called and said that she thinks my "gauges are sticking, they sometimes stick", and that for the low-low price of $99, plus $60/hr, she can have a service guy come out and look at my tank.  REALLY?  Wow, thanks for that.  My gauges are not sticking!  I intend to file a police report and record my notes, because I have a feeling I will be called a liar as this goes forward.
I just have to say that this whole thing is very bizarre.  I've been doing business with Thrifty for the past two years, and have never had a problem.  I have always checked the propane delivery against the propane tank gauge, and it has always been on-the-money within about 5 gallons of expected versus reported.  My tank gauge is not "sticking".  I watched it go down to 10% slowly over the last week before delivery, and it performed as it normally does.  And the propane drained at the normal rate.  There is just no explanation for this bizarre behavior, and I wouldn't believe it myself if it weren't happening to me.  Customer service was especially poor, and I've dealt with all manner of customer service reps. 

I recommend taking a picture of your gauge percentage before and after delivery to ensure you are not ripped off.  My guess is that the delivery driver is at fault, so different areas may fare better.  At any rate, I am out $180 on propane that I was charged for and did not receive.  Very irritating.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/21/2012 08:59 PM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/r/Thrifty-Propane/Medina-Ohio-44258-2018/Thrifty-Propane-Thrifty-Propane-of-Medina-Ohio-Propane-delivery-fraud-Delivered-710-gall-826526. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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REBUTTALS & REPLIES:
0Author 2Consumer 0Employee/Owner
Updates & Rebuttals

#1 UPDATE Employee

Gauges are for estimates, Meters are regulated by the State

AUTHOR: Thrifty Propane - ()

The meter on our delivery trucks are regulated by the State of Ohio. By law they are to be tested and adjusted annually by third parties that are licensed for this work by the Ohio Department of Weights and Measures. Our drivers do not have the capacity to tamper with the truck meters. They are completely reliable.
The person making this report relied on the gauge on his residential tank. These gauges are designed only to help the customer determine when more propane might be needed. They cannot be relied upon as a gallon-to-gallon measure of the fuel in the tank, because they are so crude that they do not correct for atmospheric conditions such as temperture. In particular, this customer's gauge, installed on an underground tank subject to damage by moisture, had failed and was replaced by another supplier. As is visible in the photograph,attached, the valves and piping for the tank are sitting in water, apparently beneath the water table on his property, and the entire assembly is covered with grass and soil.  

The only reliable measure is provided by the truck meter that prints out the ticket included in the customer's report. The ticket mechanically printed by the truck meter that delivered this customer's fuel showed 800.5 gallons. The meter that printed the ticket was sealed by the State of Ohio and corrected the quantity for atmospheric conditions. The meters on Thrifty Propane's delivery trucks are sealed by every state in which Thrifty does business.

Had the customer a dispute with Thrifty Propane regarding the delivery amount, his recourse was with the Ohio Department of Weights and Measures to have the truck meter tested. The metered amount is regarded as reliable by government. The customer needed to gather all the facts available from Thrifty Propane and the Bureau of Weights and Measures. His accusations were extremely reckless, given the known inaccuracy of tank guages, and the condition of piping and valve assembly on his underground tank.

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#2 Consumer Suggestion

How propane tanks are filled

AUTHOR: Wary Shopper - (United States of America)

I have never worked for Thrifty Propane but I did work for another propane company for 8 years as both a delivery driver and doing service and installations. I wanted to make it known that it is entirely possible that a 1000 gal propane tank reading 9% could hold another 800.5 gallons of propane, especially in January.

First of all, it is a routine practice for propane companies to fill customer tanks to 85% capacity during the heating season. I know the "industry standard" is supposed to be 80% but nobody sticks to it too stictly. You should also come to a complete stop at stop signs, but very few people do.

Secondly, the guages on those tanks are just that...a guage. They can be notoriously inaccurate. They are not intended to be read with absolute certainty, just as my car's gas guage will read a quarter of a tank when I really have almost a half a tank left.

Third, propane expands and contracts significantly with changes in temperature. The meters on the trucks have a temperature compensator that always meters the gallons as "60 degree gallons". That way you are always paying for the same "gallon" regardless of the outside temperature. However, once that 60 degree gallon is pumped into a cold propane tank on a January day it takes up the volume of a much colder and smaller gallon. Thus, it is entirely possible to put 800 gallons of "60 degree" propane into a cold propane tank and have it only register a 70% increase on your guage. It may not be what you wanted to hear, but I don't think you got ripped off.  In my experience I do not see any red flags here.
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