Surburban Propane A Better Choice Than Benz!

Posted in the Tehachapi Forum

Benz Rated F

Shingle Springs, CA

#1 Feb 8, 2012
We didn’t realize there were other companies in our area or we’d have switched years ago. To start with, they are only on route once a month so if you run out, it’s a special call with an extra fee and a higher per gallon propane rate. The minimum top up is 100 gallons so if you’ve got a small tank then you have to run low before they’ll come. They DO NOT check for leaks as they claim they do. Their trucks do not have a meter so the ticket for your propane top up is handwritten. Nothing computerized to prove they put in what they claim.
We lost $500 worth of propane due to a leaky seal on our tank that they should have noticed at top-ups. We usually get propane in our 250 gal tank 3 times a year. In 2008 we got 5 top ups and in 2009 we had top ups 6 weeks apart and then ran out 100%. Benz would NOT come to check when we said we suspected lost fuel due to a leak b/c we had an outstanding bill. They claimed we should have known by the smell (wind blows it away, is my guess). At the end of 8 days w/o propane, and no help from Benz we called Suburban Propane..They have stellar customer service, smaller tanks, weekly routes, computerized meters on their trucks and they will put in as little as 5 gal if that’s all you need and you want a top up while they’re there. They come by when they’re in the area if they notice it’s been a while since you’ve been topped up.
The final straw with Benz was that they tried to charge me a $250 tank removal fee. My tank was already empty and disconnected. And besides, there’s nothing about a tank removal fee in my contract. Their invoice says “policy/proceudres subject to change without notice” but that is not written into the contract that I have. They claimed that they changed theire policy in July 2006 to add a $250 tank removal fee. They did not understand that this applies to their NEW contracts. Those of us with existing contracts that does NOT indicate a tank removal fee and does NOT state in the CONTRACT that policy/procedure is subject to change are NOT legally bound by their July 06 change. I went to a lawyer who read my contract, agreed with me and wrote Benz a letter. I also filed a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. In both cases, they indicated their July 06 policy change, completing ignoring or not understanding the fact that it’s not in my contract and they cannot abritrarily charge me because that’s what they do now. They did eventually indicate to the Better Business Bureau that they would “forgive the $250 owed by the customer”./Inyokern Area
It was a nightmare, I tell you. So honestly, if you live in the Tehachapi area, DO NOT get your propane service through Benz. I do HIGHLY recommend Suburban Propane. They are wonderful folk and we’re very happy customers of theirs now.
• Pros: Absolutely nothing - go to Suburban Proprane instead
• Cons: horrific treatment of customers; don’t know contract

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