Physician Fell Victim To The Propane ...

Physician Fell Victim To The Propane Policy Trap

There are 36 comments on the Hartford Courant story from Feb 14, 2009, titled Physician Fell Victim To The Propane Policy Trap. In it, Hartford Courant reports that:

This is another part of a continuing series shedding light on the least transparent energy business in Connecticut and in the rest of the country: propane gas.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at Hartford Courant.

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PAK

Norwich, CT

#21 Feb 17, 2009
state piggies wrote:
Seeing the icons that Bemers is leaving I think we are hitting a nerve. I will go to my town hall Tuesday and make sure they are aware of this slick practice of dodging property taxes, I know Bemer has many tanks in Laurel Ridge in East Hampton, maybe I'll check with their tax people to see if they are on the tax rolls there as well. And please don't forget my icons.
My friend's parents just bought a house in Laurel Ridge and they all share a Bemer's common tank, so the people there are really screwed and have no choices.

“Don Mei”

Since: Apr 07

Essex, CT

#23 Feb 18, 2009
Injustice,
Go buy a tank, if you just cook, you can get a 100 lb tank for $100.

I had problems with Hocon. They raised my price the second year I had them. I called them and they wouldnt lower the price.

(I heat with propane)
So I called paraco and scheduled a change of service. I ran my tanks nearly empty then I removed them and put them in my driveway. Paraco came and installed their tanks.

Finally I called Hocon and told them to pick up their tanks. They told me about a contract I signed. I asked them to produce the contract. All they could produce was a single sided credit app. The terms were on the back. The credit app I signed, was a single sided photo copy.

Ha. So they picked up the tanks and then sent me a $120 bill for their removal.

I sent the invoice back with a request for my signed contract showing I agreed to a pickup charge.

Next bill showed a credit to a balance of zero. Havent heard from them since.

The botom line is that you need to just do whats best for you. If Beemer wont remove their tanks, then disconenct them and call somebody else.

Its YOUR house. Even if its their tank, you dont need to let them on your property to fill it.

Finally, if you werent alerted to a leased tank at closing, or before when you buy a house, you have a title insurance claim. Everybody has to buy it, nobody knows what it is, you might as well use it.

Don

“That's what I'm Saying!”

Since: Oct 07

Cromwell, CT

#24 Feb 19, 2009
Don Mei wrote:
Injustice,
Go buy a tank, if you just cook, you can get a 100 lb tank for $100.
I had problems with Hocon. They raised my price the second year I had them. I called them and they wouldnt lower the price.
(I heat with propane)
So I called paraco and scheduled a change of service. I ran my tanks nearly empty then I removed them and put them in my driveway. Paraco came and installed their tanks.
Finally I called Hocon and told them to pick up their tanks. They told me about a contract I signed. I asked them to produce the contract. All they could produce was a single sided credit app. The terms were on the back. The credit app I signed, was a single sided photo copy.
Ha. So they picked up the tanks and then sent me a $120 bill for their removal.
I sent the invoice back with a request for my signed contract showing I agreed to a pickup charge.
Next bill showed a credit to a balance of zero. Havent heard from them since.
The botom line is that you need to just do whats best for you. If Beemer wont remove their tanks, then disconenct them and call somebody else.
Its YOUR house. Even if its their tank, you dont need to let them on your property to fill it.
Finally, if you werent alerted to a leased tank at closing, or before when you buy a house, you have a title insurance claim. Everybody has to buy it, nobody knows what it is, you might as well use it.
Don
That is excellent advice all the way across the board. Many people have things on their credit report that they say they do not know (cell phone companies are big on this as well as repossed cars) If you ask the credit report company to get the company to verify the account many times the banks have changed hands so many times the original documents can't be found, thus, they cannot prove the person owes them anything--off the report it goes.
Dave

Fredericksburg, VA

#25 Feb 20, 2009
Exact same thing has happened to me in Virginia courtesy of Amerigas. I am furious sbout it. What if I tell Amerigas that I'm gonna rip that damn "property of Amerigas" sticker of the tank and have another company fill it? What can they do legally? I believe in the contract it says that they can terminate my lease. So what? That's exactly what I want to have happen. Are they gonna come and spend the money to rip it out of my yard? If so, I will make sure they pay for any damage to my property.
Has anyone had success in getting out from under one of these lease deals without losing your shirt?

“Don Mei”

Since: Apr 07

Essex, CT

#26 Feb 21, 2009
Dave,
I'm not saying rip the label off. I'm saying remove the entire tanks.

Its not rocket science. I'm also saying, that you shouldnt accept what they say is in the lease. Demand documentation. SIGNED documentation.

It all depends on how much of a pr1ck you want to be. I was prepared to physically remove their tanks from MY property even if they had been able to prpvide a fully executed contract. But they couldnt produce the contract so it never came to that.
GasGod

United States

#27 Mar 2, 2009
It is HIGHLY doubtful anyone with a service license is conducting a "visual inspection of your equipment" when they do a delivery.
How exactly does one do a visual inspection of an underground tank?
I'll be the first to admit that most components of the distribution system are not apt to fail, but if your underground tank does begin to leak, you would not know it. If a riser rots out or the gas line corrodes would you be aware?
It is in YOUR best interest to monitor your usage for irregularities and have a pressure test conducted at least every couple of years.
Trust me on one thing though....Uncas gas is doing nothing more than delivering your propane, that you can count on.
Somewhere In Connecticut

Newington, CT

#28 Mar 2, 2009
state piggies wrote:
I can see by the "Judge It" icons that Bemers must be reading this post again, Hmmmmmm, I wonder what they have to hide?
Bemers must be doing all the judging here--what devils they must be-uh, I meant crooks or shady characters or rip off artists. Hurry ,someone before Bemers give me a bad rating.

“Don Mei”

Since: Apr 07

Essex, CT

#29 Mar 3, 2009
All you beemers customers, give them a call.

I know a beemers customer with a 1000 gal tank who pushed them hard and got propane down to $1.59 just last week.

Don

“Don Mei”

Since: Apr 07

Essex, CT

#30 Mar 3, 2009
the customer above has a beemers leased tank. for got to mention that.
PropaneHostage

Ellington, CT

#31 Mar 4, 2009
The state of Utah realized this propane issue back in 1991. Here is what it said on the Utah Attorney General's site.



QUESTION PRESENTED

Are state and federal antitrust laws violated by the requirement in National Fire Protection Association 58 4-2.2.1 as adopted by the Utah State Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board permitting only owners of propane tanks or their designees to fill the tanks?

ANSWER

National Fire Protection Association 58 4-2.2.1 as adopted by the Utah State Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board is a restraint of trade which violates state and federal antitrust laws. It is also preempted by federal antitrust laws because it authorizes conduct which violates federal antitrust laws.

In CT the law that governs this isn't a law at all. It was a code regulation put out by the DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY called the
CONNECTICUT LIQUEFIED PETROLEUM GAS AND LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS CODE, that was put out in 1977.

If anyone wants a copy of this code, email me at [email protected]

The scary part is that the person working with the Attorney General's office is Michael Morrissey, Connecticut director of the Propane Gas Association...guess what...this is the same person that I have dealt with in the past at Bemer's. I think he is/was their Vice President.

I see in the article http://blogs.courant.com/george_gombossy/2009... there is nothing in it for us who are leasing. It looks like just more legislation that would protect the propane industry.

Hopefully CT will get smart and realize that they are alowing and assisting these propane dealers to violate federal antitrust laws.

I too am a victim of Bemer's. I will post my story soon.
propane rip-off

United States

#32 Jun 14, 2009
Where are the lawyers when you need them ????

Class action law-suit .Get the state & propane

companies in the pocket book.Gets them to move

faster.Nothing seems to be moving to fast now !
joe

Branford, CT

#33 Oct 30, 2009
never mind any other co amerigas is the biggest crooks and they use contracters who have criminal records
Paul Appleton

Marshfield, MA

#34 Jul 9, 2010
Lately Bemers threatening letter came despite receipt of entire amount due, previous bill. When I called to be sure they were paid, I received comment from secy that their accounting method, did not first apply my amount to the equipment yearly maintenance.

I am going to make a complaint to dept of consumer affairs, CT. This company needs to transparently show its costs relative to ownership of equipment ( as required by State) since replacement of equipment is not apparently being done in lieu of dumping customers.
azel PREACHER

Fremont, NC

#35 Jul 13, 2010
Scott wrote:
I am the doctor cited in this article. The fact that many people like me have been fleeced speaks to the sophistication of the companies involved and the way the laws have been crafted to allow such collusion.
I am shocked to find out that perhaps propane companies are not paying fair property taxes on the very items generating windfall profits. When my house was assessed this year Glastonbury hired a firm to come out to my house and measure my house with at tape measure. But, the town has allowed Bemer Petroleum to self report the presence and value of a taxable asset leased to customers! Am I crazy or are there two standards here?
Every town in CT should begin auditing propane companies and the assets held in their town to begin to evaluate tax compliance. This year Glastonbury is laying off teachers and yet Bemer Petroleum is allowed to have windfall profits but perhaps underpay taxes? Every home and car owner is held to the highest level of compliance but these companies are allowed such leverage. It is a travesty.
Time will tell if corporate behavior like this will be allowed, or whether government will stand up to protect the citizen and demand the same level of tax compliance they expect from homeowners.
As well, regulation should be adopted to allow leases, but also allow that the homeowner can use alternative suppliers as they see fit. Lease of a tank should be just that, a lease that allows payments over time for an asset - not a barrel to bend people over for years to come.
MY county doesn't let anyone put a value on their property.
CLDAVIS

Paducah, KY

#37 Oct 6, 2010
I am a prospective propane customer who recently purchased a home with an acquired propane tank burried in my yard which has a sticker that states Property of and serviced by Airgas. I have gone round and round with these people in the Fredericksburg office and I am happy to say I made a good decision to investigate and ask questions. There is such a wealth of knowledge from the internet to include your experience that has confirmed my initial suspicions and the detiorating phone conversations with Airgas and other propane companies in the area with Airgas being the one targeted as the shadiest practice I have seen thus far. I will not go into the details of their scam but here are a few tips from my experience.
1.) If the tank can only be serviced by Amerigas because it is owned by Amerigas then get them to show you proof this is their property and if they cannot demonstrate ownership and a previous contract then assume its your property and consider it a dead issue especially if the tank is burried underground. LOL!

2.) Send them a letter stating they have 48 hours to dispose of this property or you will consider this tank your property.

3.) Offer them two options, either to remove the tank at their costs or offfer to do a "buy out" or a "switch out" to another propane company. They love this but hey another propane company will happily pick up the cost of your tank if its reasonable but then you get stuck in the same lease trap.

Its my believe we must take a stand and say no to leasing tanks in an effort to allow a fair market and more choices for the public.
Get on the bus and join me to legislate against the shady practices in the propane industry. Read the terrible reviews of the people who are getting scammed and this will enlighten you to make other people a better consumer.

How long should you lease before it becomes yours anyway? Forever? Some builders buy the propane tanks when they build the home. Who is to say these propane companies are not leasing a paid for tank if they cannot provide you with adequate documentation this is a rental tank? What was the contract agreement with the previous owner of the home? Did this contract transfer to the new homeowner and if so does this contract have any type of buy out agreement should you not want to use the same propane company?
deb

Ellington, CT

#38 Oct 29, 2011
BEEMER PROPANE OF GLASTONBURY CT is one of the guilty companies! we never realized when we were building our house and adding a generator with an underground tank that we would be leasing it for life and BEEMER would overcharge us for the propane. our tank is underground so if we asked them to remove it - our yard would be destroyed and our cost excessive. i just recently had a problem after a long power outage - the tank was empty and another storm due - i was told it was my responsibility to watch the tank level and if they were to come out on saturday - i would be charged a service fee of $250 in addition to the cost of the propane. i was not allowed to use other propane companies that were in fact open and willing to deliver - because the tank was the property of BEEMERS OF GLASTONBURY, CT!

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