Monday, February 22, 2016

Got Gas...Again?

****Read this story again before I post the latest exchange with the gas company.****

Recently, a friend of mine was disgusted by the amount that she had to pay to purchase propane for her home in Virginia. I immediately knew how she felt because I have been battling with my propane provider for years and not just about price.

I thought I had already written about this crap but after checking back through the archives I only found a draft and not the actual finished piece. (Not sure why I never finished it.) Probably, because no one would actually believe it, I guess.

To keep it short and to the point, whatever could go wrong with ordering a tank of propane has gone wrong for me.

Here are a few examples:

I ordered gas and it never got delivered. (This happened three times.)

I left them a check taped to the inside of the lid of the tank but they wouldn't leave the gas because they couldn't find a check.

I ordered gas and they put it in the neighbor's tank.

They billed me for it and threatened to send it to collections before I could convince them about the mistake.

For over five years, they had one of the meanest customer service representatives that you could imagine. (She was finally fired.)

The new rep that replaced her listened to my stories of previous mishaps and assured me that those mistakes would never happen again. They had gone through several training classes and had a completely new staff. (She then used my account number for the lady that came in at the same time as me. Good thing I checked my receipt before I left. It took over 20 minutes of voiding and searching to get that mess straightened out.)

One could think that I was making all of this up because it all seems so impossible that the mistakes would keep happening. But, I'm not and it's always an adventure when I need to purchase fuel for my furnace. I do have to admit that the last three visits have been mishap free. (I guess that training paid off.)

Now, when I go I no longer begin my conversation with, "My name is Palmer and I've had some problems in the past." I just give my info and they ring me up.

Today was a little different. The woman that replaced the mean lady was there and had two new helpers. As I was waiting for one of the newbies to ring me up I mentioned about the price that Amerigas was charging my friend in Virginia which was $4.58 a gallon. My company is Heritage Propane and I was charged $2.29, which is substantially less. All three heads swiveled and looked at me when I mentioned the price and then they all looked at each other.

"I think they pay more up north and down in Florida," the lady I knew said.

"Yeah, I think you're right," another said. "It's probably because of the salaries; they make a lot more than we do."

Sounds reasonable to me.

The new lady rang up my purchase without any problems and I left them with a chipper "Goodbye and I hope to not see you again this year." We all laughed and I grabbed one of their 2015 calendars and headed out to the car.

Glancing down at the calendar I was surprised to see the Amerigas logo  on it. Oh, no, when did that happen?  My company was no longer small and independent. Maybe that was why the three women looked at me so funny when I mentioned the higher price up north.

I don't know, maybe the higher prices up north are paying for all of the training down here because it's been over two years since they messed up my account.

Good for me, but bad for my friend. On the bright side, I hear they are predicting a warmer and shorter winter for the northeast.

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