Consumer Class Action Filed Against Suburban Propane

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Newark, NJ: A nationwide consumer class action has been filed against Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. and its operating subsidiary, Suburban Propane, L.P.

The lawsuit alleges that Suburban Propane unfairly charges its customers excessive prices for propane, without disclosing its per gallon price in advance of delivery. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Suburban Propane unlawfully charges its customers a variety of fees that are not properly disclosed, including tank pump out and pick up fees that are designed to prevent customers from rejecting deliveries and choosing a competitor.

Lead Plaintiff Robert Slack became so upset about Suburban Propane's business practices that he launched his own website in January of 2010, to express his concerns. According to the lawsuit, many of Suburban Propane's customers from across the country have submitted written comments to his website reporting similar experiences, and have reported being charged prices of as much as $7.00 per gallon.

Suburban Propane is the fourth-largest retail marketer of propane in the United States, measured by retail gallons sold. According to its most-recent Annual Report, residential customers accounted for less than half (44%) of Suburban Propane's retail propane sales by volume, but accounted for 61% of Suburban Propane's margins on retail propane sales during the most recent fiscal year, reflecting higher margins in its residential propane business.

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Reader Comments

Posted by
Maria Monteleone
I used Surburban Propane for a little over a year... I was paying over $4.00 a gallon... so I shopped for another company. To my surprise I received a bill for 284.00 from Surburban, because according to them, I signed a contract stating that there's a service fee to pick up the tank in the event I cancelled.
However, I never signed a contract. Surburban forged my signature... they sent me a copy of the contract and clearly it wasn't my signature.

Posted by
I had a house built in 2004 and had an inground tank installed. At the time the Suburban rep. stated I could purchase the tank at a later date. Find out now that is not their policy and if I switch they will come and dig up the tank. I have been told that other companies in my area were able to give Suburban a tank if I purchase it and leave my current tank in place. Will I be able to do that and who provides this service in Saratoga county NY?

Posted by
Chris S.
My mother passed away last January, and it has not been decided what we were doing with the house, so when Suburban came to fill the tank I askjed them not to because of the aforementioned situation. Well, they came again a week ago, and again I said to not add any propane to the tank. Got a bill in the mail today for $188.89 for "0 gallons delivered, minimum payment due upon receipt." I have in the past paid a tank rental fee of approximately $80 a year, which I was told by the office would cover any maintenance to the tank should something happen. Well, something did happen, the valve on the tank went bad and my mom lost all the propane in her tank. Thankfully she only used it for cooking and not heat. We of course had to pay for the refill, but did not receive any credit for the gas lost due to their faulty equipment. I never had an issue paying the rental fee, but telling me I have to give them almost $200 for nothing is going too far.

It only goes one way with this company, their way. So now I have to go fight with them over this bill, and tell them to come get their tank. Just want to live a peaceful life and you get these scumbag energy companies trying to shake you down cause they didn't get to sell you their over priced product.

Posted by
Bridget Dillinger
I called to have tank locked at the beginning of December when I moved out.A few days later, suburban said a worker was ill and they would have to go the following monday.

When I didn't get a refund by mid January I contacted them again. The new residents of the home evidently used the propane up and no work order was issued at the beginning of December. They also could not locate a work order so claim i didn't call. I will be filing a small claims suit using my cell phone call log as evidence.

Also, when I originally established service I paid 500 cash to buy propane in tank, labor, and tank rental. They tried billing previous occupant and I had to prove I paid it with receipt. Either they keep poor records or are rip off artists.

Either way, it ends soon for me.I won't tolerate that unprofessional conduct.

Posted by
Mary - that depends. Do they own the tank or is the tank yours? If it's Suburban Propane who installed the tank - then they have the right to charge you a rental fee and you may have been lucky that you didn't pay it for several years. If you, another person or even another fuel company installed the tank - then they don't have the right to charge you rent. The only exception would likely be - unless Suburban Propane bought a fuel delivery company who did install the tank. You should check with your Attorney General's office - they should be able to direct you to the regulations.

Posted by
mary conklin
years with no tank rental now trying to charge for rental of tank do I have to pay it

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