ED Magedson – Founder
Suburban PropanePO Box 3809 Prince Frederick, Maryland United States of America
The following is a dispute letter I composed to Suburban Propane regarding their unethical business practices; I also filed a formal complaint with the Consumer Protection Agency and suggest that others do the same, as this company must be stopped from victimizing consumers!
Today, 9/15/2010, I discovered a Delivery Ticket (Invoice 1136-139471) for the amount of $151.29 attached to my door. The ticket indicated that I had received 2.1 gallons of LPG. Clearly, propane costs have not currently reached more than $75 per gallon, so I immediately called the inquiry number on the ticket to request explanation, specifically the Minimum Bill comment that was, prior to 9/15, completely unfamiliar to me during my years as a Suburban customer. During my conversation with the Suburban representative, I was told it was irrelevant that I had only received 2.1 gallons of LPG and that I was still responsible for paying the $151.29 minimal fee. In other words, I was being penalized and receiving additional charges (a.k.a. Minimal Bill) because I had not used what Suburban Propane indiscriminately and subjectively determined to be a minimum amount of propane! I informed the representative that I would pay for the 2.1 gallons of LPG that were replaced in the tank; however, I would not pay for something I had not received or used, at which point I was threatened with having my propane tank turned-off, thereby making the gas inaccessible to me. The gas in the tank (minus the 2.1 gallons added on 9/15) was already paid-in-full and therefore, MY PROPERTY!
In addition, and without any notification of change, I received a tank rental fee of $60 (plus tax) last year. Upon calling to inquire about this fee, I was informed that because I did not use enough gas (amount undisclosed, of course), I would be charged this fee, which I had never received in prior years. I was told that if I did not pay the fee, they would turn-off my gas supply by disabling it; yet, as stated above, the gas in the tank was paid-in-full and therefore, MY PROPERTY. I did pay the rental fee, however.
I do not know the amount to dispute (per the Summary of Your Billing Rights inclusion demand for this letter), as THERE IS NO COST PER GALLON IDENTIFIED ON THE INVOICE, so I am unable to determine the rightful charges for the 2.1 gallons I received and for which I am prepared to pay. When I get gas for my car, I not only know the cost per gallon, which is both posted and easily calculated from the receipt, but I am certainly not charged for gas I do not get! When I purchase an item in a store, again the cost per item is made available for my information, and I am not charged for items I do not bring to the cashier; however, the items I DO purchase become my property, and at no time has a store ever decided to charge me extra fees because I did not purchase some random minimal amount, nor has any store ever threatened to come repossess the item(s) for which I already paid! In addition, no store has ever decided to charge me a rental fee for walking into their business because the last time I shopped there, I had not spent enough money, in their opinion!
Upon researching the Suburban Propane Company, I found a multitude of complaints, including price-gouging, inexplicable and unannounced rental fees, and exorbitant removal charges (or more appropriately, punishment fees) for customers who terminate service. This is an egregious abuse of ethical business practice, if not illegal, and is worthy of formal complaint to the Better Business Bureau, as well as potential legal action on behalf of the consumer. If at any time prior to this dispute being resolved, I discover that my gas tank has been disabled and/or its contents rendered inaccessible to me, I am prepared to report theft and destruction-of-property to the authorities. I expect to hear from a Suburban Propane representative in a timely manner regarding this dispute.
This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 09/19/2010 10:37 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/suburban-propane/prince-frederick-maryland-20678/suburban-propane-unethical-practices-prince-frederick-maryland-642151. 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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