I used Suburban Propane Company for ten years, it was a rocky relationship from the start. Unfortunately it took me this long to realize how badly I was being ripped off. I won't get into the specifics of the unscrupulous behavior I incurred over the ten years, but will focus on the final incident. I had assumed for the longest time that my bills were getting higher each year due to rising energy cost, and that Suburban, being such a large company, was charging me a competitive price in line with the average going price of natural gas ... BIG MISTAKE!!!!! Sure, the price of everything has gone up, but that is not the sole reason for the exorbitant bills.
This past Friday I called Suburban to order my first tankful for the season, after the delivery time and date were set, I proceeded to ask the price per gallon I would be paying. Brad, the helpful young fellow, tells me that I will be paying $4.99 per gallon. Shocked, I asked why the price is so high. Brad proceeds to tell me that he has heard through the grapevine, that prices may becoming down soon, I respond with when and to what price, his answer is he's not sure, but he will call me Monday after he talks to his manager, I postpone the delivery and I ask to speak to the manager directly, but I'm told she is not there.
Monday morning at 8:30am I'm awakened by a call from Brad, great news, he can offer me a price break, instead of $4.99, he can fill the tank for $4.29 a gallon. I agree to have the tank filled, but still feeling that the price is too high, I postpone the delivery for another week to do some research. I stumble upon www.propane-prices.com to find the following: "The average residential propane price increased slightly, by $0.01 per gallon, to reach $2.78 per gallon. This is a rise of $0.39 per gallon compared to the $2.39 per gallon average from the same period last year." I'm shocked ... $2.78 compared to $4.29 is a huge difference!!!
I call back Suburban with my new found information and confront Debbie with the info, Debbie and I go way back! She informs me that Suburban has a sliding scale in which a customer can pay anywhere from over eight dollars a gallon down to under three dollars a gallon, depending on different variables. These variables consist of the annual amount of gas used, the duration of time one has used Suburban, etc. and the best they can do for me is $4.25 (supposedly Brad told me $4.25 that morning, but it sounded like $4.29 ... did I mention these people lie). I tell Debbie ok, but no delivery until Wednesday 10/26 (it has to be a Wednesday because that's the only day the driver is in my area according to them, FYI) to give myself some research time.
Not more than 15 minutes after I hang up with Debbie a Suburban delivery truck pulls up to in front of my house (it's a Monday, FYI). I go out to ask the driver why he is there, his answer, to fill up my tank. No way ... I explain to the driver that I just told Debbie that under NO circumstances are they to fill the tank until 10/26, and by the way it's Monday, why are you in my neighborhood Mr. Delivery guy? He tells me that he has not spoken to Debbie or the home office, but that his Monday deliveries were done, so he was starting to do Wednesday's deliveries now, so it's a pure coincident that he's here. I send him on his way and I call back Debbie, she's on another call (guess who with?), when she answers she says that she just got off the phone with the delivery man, and what a coincidence! I ask why is it a coincidence? Remember I'm not due to get a delivery until a week from this Wednesday, hey, and by the way, what happened to the Tuesday deliveries anyway? Debbie proceeds to tell me that I set up the Wednesday delivery for this week with Brad on Friday ... NO I DIDN'T, I canceled that delivery until Brad talked to his manager remember?Oh, you're right says Debbie, I see that. Everybody getting the point here? Debbie panicked that I was going to bolt from their crappy company after finally figuring out their sliding cost structure rip off, so she called the delivery guy immediately to tell him to go fill up my tank, luckily I was home!!!!
After a little research I'm told this is a common Suburban practice, if you tell them you are leaving, or they suspect you are planning on leaving they come fill up your tank. Needless to say, a new company is coming this week to put in their tank and Suburban is going out of my life for good, my propane per gallon price will be $2.81 this winter, locked in until May 1st. I save $1.44 a gallon, which saves me approximately $720 this winter.
If this report gets at least one Suburban customer to check their rate and dump these shady bastards, or if it prevents one person searching for a new propane company to stand clear of Suburban and their jacked-up, we will charge you anything we like with no regard to the current market price, then I have successfully done my job. I only wish I had done my homework ten years ago!!!!