Anybody else have these LP company problems

Kevin R. Cashen

Super Moderator
So today I severed my relationship with my propane supplier of over 15 years, they didn’t like it, but I got some satisfaction. After many years of dealing with the same local, mom and pop, LP gas supplier, about two years ago trouble started when they were bought out by a large gas supply corporation. Suddenly the friendly, non-formal, days of the guys delivering gas and stopping to watch me forge and shoot the breeze was replaced with added fees for not buying enough in a certain time period.

Then last fall I got a letter in the mail stating that I could get no more propane delivered to my 330 gallon tank until I allowed them access to the interior of my shop to do a proper line inspection. Naturally I was quite dubious about this request and so I proceeded quite cautiously. When they came and looked at my setup I was informed that since my gas forge and salt bath system was not UL listed (umm yeah, I built them myself) that I could no longer receive propane as long as they were hooked up to the gas lines and that the only regulator that was allowed was the one they had provided for my furnace. Since my tank was set by the original good guys it was now the property of the new non-caring corporation, and I was officially shutoff for LP deliveries.

All this winter I carted 100 lb. bottles back to my shop to get by and last week I notified the LP company that I wanted their tank, that they would no longer fill, off my property. Cautiously I asked and, sure enough, there were ready to charge me quite a hefty fee to remove their empty tank from my property. So let me sum this up, these jerks shut me off from any more refills of their tank from them, regardless of whether I had to make a living or not, and then were going to charge me for them coming onto my property to remove the tank they would no longer fill.


Today I pulled into their local office with their lousy tank on a trailer and told them to take it. I made the guy who unloaded it sign a receipt listing all of their property, from the tank and regulators down to the stinking copper line that fed my shop, as proof that I had delivered it to them (no charge).

Has anybody else experienced this sort of hassle from a LP supplier? I hope this is not a sign of things to come, but in the nanny state I fear it is.
 

Wayne Coe

Forum Owner - Moderator
Yup, I had been using the same locally owned company for about 15 years. I have a number of 100# bottles that I would take to them for refill. Great guys. Then they were bought out. Suddenly they no longer filled there, the tanks would have to be sent off but they would exchange for me. I paid for the gas while there and got a receipt,,,THEN SEVERAL DAYS LATER GOT A BILL FOR TANK RENTAL,,,,ON MY OWN TANK. I called and finally got the charge reversed. The next time same thing. It was taking several calls, over several months, while accruing late fees. When I finally got a receipt showing a 0 balance I sent them a message telling them that they would never see me again and exactly what I thought of them (well, I did leave out the profanity)
 

bladegrinder

Well-Known Member
Kevin, I work for a natural gas company that also sells propane. normally we don't do random checking or testing of house piping unless the tank went empty or if it was a takeover from another supplier, but to get around that inspection you could cap off any lines that wouldn't pass code until they inspect and leave, then reconnect them. I work on the natural side, and if I see any code violations, we disconnect that one appliance and cap the line feeding it, not shut down the whole service. normally gas companys follow federal laws but our company does have some that supersede them. I will say this, we do everything possible NOT to lose a customer.
 

EdCaffreyMS

Forum Owner - Moderator
Seems over the last few years I've heard more and more "horror stories" that are similar to yours. I'm lucky to still have a good relationship with the outfit I've used for over 25 years.....but who knows how long it will last. The last time I talked with the manager, he was telling me how hard the "feds" were coming down on propane companies....basically trying to regulate them to death. Personally I think it's a sign of the "snowflake" world we live in. There's no consideration for those of us who are knowledgeable/responsible....everybody is afraid of being liable for the stupid people, and the rest of us suffer for it.

I've been super lucky with the my propane outfit..... 500 gallon tank that I rent for $50 a year, I only fill it once every 14-16 months, and when I wasn't getting enough pressure into the shop, they GAVE me an adjustable regulator, and all the fittings to attach it to the tank and said...... "You know what your doing....here ya go." Guess I'd best count my lucky stars that the company I deal with is still treating me good.
 

Ty Adams

KNIFE MAKER
Yes propane companies are getting out of hand. At work we we go through +1000 gallons of propane a month. Our contract came due and they tried to raise our prices. I tried calling and talking to someone about it. I had to leave messages with no returned calls. When I did finally get ahold of the manager she told me she was to busy to talk at that time. I called several more times trying to get an answer with no luck. The next time they filled our tank it was $5 a gallon. When I called to ask why... They told me it was because I refused to sign the new contract.:12:
 

Kevin R. Cashen

Super Moderator
... I've been super lucky with the my propane outfit..... 500 gallon tank that I rent for $50 a year, I only fill it once every 14-16 months, and when I wasn't getting enough pressure into the shop, they GAVE me an adjustable regulator, and all the fittings to attach it to the tank and said...... "You know what your doing....here ya go." Guess I'd best count my lucky stars that the company I deal with is still treating me good.
That is how it was for me as well Ed. The original business came in and set the tank and when I asked how much it would cost, they said “nothing, we want to sell you propane.” Then they left a coil of copper line setting next to the tank and told me to hook it up the way I needed. When I added an LP furnace to the shop I asked what regulator they would like me to use, they pulled into the drive and pulled out a regulator and some more copper line and handed it to me, before chatting about my latest project.

The frustrating part is that all along there was no problem because I am neurotic about gas safety and have safety redundancies everywhere, and shut off valves on everything. The fact that I went above and beyond was even noted when they recently came to tell me that non UL listed gas forges and salts baths were not acceptable. I told them that I was the one with a 2,000F gas forge in my face should there be a potential leak, believe me I cared more about the safety than they did!

I also realize that it was most likely this sort of nonsense that forced the mom and pop good guys to sell out to that corporation. They have had an entire turn over in workers there and I was told by some of them that I was not the only long-time customer that told them to come and get their junk off their property because they went from being treated like friends to being just another number to bleed for every penny they could.

I think there was something to be said for the good old days when idiots where allowed to remove themselves from the gene pool, instead of being coddled at the expense of those of us with a brain. I have an expression for when dumb people take themselves out, I call it "God weeding his garden".
 

WY_Not

Well-Known Member
You are much nicer about it than I would have been. I used to work for a propane company (AmeriGas) and I know how long they leave tanks in people's yards. They would rather store them on your property than on theirs. Even though I worked there, I didn't mince words about this issue when we discussed policies and customer service issues. You have 30 days to get your tank out of my yard. After that I'm sending you a monthly bill for the storage fee. After 6 months of non-payment of the storage fee I'm on the phone repeatedly telling you to come get your tank or I'm cutting lines and rolling that sucker to the curb. There is no excuse for their actions.

BTW, the copper was yours. The tank and regulators are rented. All lines and connections are bought at time of installation.

Today I pulled into their local office with their lousy tank on a trailer and told them to take it. I made the guy who unloaded it sign a receipt listing all of their property, from the tank and regulators down to the stinking copper line that fed my shop, as proof that I had delivered it to them (no charge).
 

WY_Not

Well-Known Member
Too busy to talk to a 1000+ galons a month customer?!?!?! Wow. When I was there, those are the customers we usually bent over backwards to keep happy.

Yes propane companies are getting out of hand. At work we we go through +1000 gallons of propane a month. Our contract came due and they tried to raise our prices. I tried calling and talking to someone about it. I had to leave messages with no returned calls. When I did finally get ahold of the manager she told me she was to busy to talk at that time. I called several more times trying to get an answer with no luck. The next time they filled our tank it was $5 a gallon. When I called to ask why... They told me it was because I refused to sign the new contract.:12:
 

Ty Adams

KNIFE MAKER
Too busy to talk to a 1000+ galons a month customer?!?!?! Wow. When I was there, those are the customers we usually bent over backwards to keep happy.
It used to be that way. The last 2 years that company has acted like they are doing me a favor by selling us propane.

The good news is another company that has been trying to get that business for awhile will be installing a new tank next week. They're setting it up on WiFi so they know when to fill it. Or if we have possible leaks because of above average use. It feels good to be treated like a customer again.

Edited to add. The other company just can't believe that we are switching to another provider.
 

Wayne Coe

Forum Owner - Moderator
Yup Ed, just wait until Airgas comes to your neighborhood. That was who I had my problems with. Fellas, Maybe, just maybe if we make enough noise they will start to pay attention to us. I used to haul my tanks from north Tennessee to Atlanta just because I was going to Atlanta that weekend and I liked the guys and appreciated how they worked for me. Now I use Scott Gross for the same reasons. They are not just a local company but the do treat me like my business is important. I just noticed that my last invoice shows " REFERRED CUSTOMER. All in caps. Now that means something. BTW I am sending a link to them.
 
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CMS3900

Well-Known Member
I did the several 100# tank thing for a while, but recently I broke down and bought my own 420#/120 gallon tank. I wanted to avoid this propane nightmare like it seems a lot of you have had, and called around and found a good outfit that sells tanks locally. I needed 2 for my new house anyway, and ended up getting 3 of them for around 1400. Now I can call anyone in the book for the best price. There ASME tanks so they never have to be certed, and if I want more propane in the future I can get another and manifold it.
A bunch of people I know in my area have had the same problems some of you have had: overcharging because your on a contract, and refusing to remove a old tank if you go with a different supplier, or other suppliers refusing to service until the previous gas company removes their tank. I just wanted to skip all that. It might be something to look into for you guys in areas with sharks.
 
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