they are ripping me off..help!

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  #1  
Old 03-30-07, 05:42 AM
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Location: Indiana (formerly Massachusetts)
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they are ripping me off..help!

we moved into a new house that the previous owners had moved out of 2 years before we bought it. the house had been owned by a re-location company for the 2 years that it was unoccupied.

when we bought the house, there was a propane tank behind the detached garage that i assumed came with the house since it had not been removed by the previous owners and they had left 2 years earlier.

i called a company and asked them to fill it. they did. i haven't used much of the propane this past year.

they are now sending me "tank rental fees" because i have not used much gas this year.

i have a full tank of gas that i paid for "in full" and they are insisting on charging me the fee.

to have the gas removed from the tank they are charging me $100 pump-out fee and then they will only give me less than half of what i paid for each gallon.

do i have any leg to stand on regarding them leaving the tank unauthorized for close to 3 years (it took me a year before i called to have it filled) on our property and now wanting to charge me tank rental fees?

can i claim that because the "abandoned" their property, the tank has now become mine?

i have to fight them this afternoon, so please answer as quickly as you can.

thanks
 
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  #2  
Old 03-30-07, 06:42 AM
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I'm not a lawyer but

I think they are within their rights. Usually the tanks are loaned or leased to the consumer. If you use a lot of gas there are seldom any issues. I assume the lease agreement the previous owners had are still inforce, or maybe you signed one when you had them refill - might be in the fine print on the invoice.

The bottom line is they own the tank. Mostly this prevents you from buying cheaper gas from a compettitor. Unless you plan to use little or no gas, you will probably have to play by their rules. There is always a possiblility if your polite they may be flexable on the charge.

Consulting an attorney would give you the best info but I'm sure he would need a copy of the tank rental agreement.
 
  #3  
Old 03-30-07, 06:53 AM
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When we had a propane tank we always had to pay an annual rental fee, filled or not. And when we converted to natural gas and still had some propane left, we had to pay a pump-out fee, although we were rebated for the gas that was removed (at the price we bought it of course). I think we also had to pay to have it hauled away.

My understanding is if you buy/rent a property with a propane tank that belongs to someone else (the propane company), you are essentially agreeing that you use the tank and agree to any terms regarding the use of that tank - just like any utility. If you don't want that tank you have to negotiate up front to have it switched out or removed.

Our gas company does the same thing - whether you use any natural gas or not, you still have to pay a meter fee every month. And yes we have had months where we only paid the meter fee.
 
  #4  
Old 03-30-07, 07:01 AM
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thanks for the feedback but i find it disheartening....i just think something is not right here.

i didn't want that tank. the company should have removed it when the previous owner's contract ran out 3 years earlier. now they want rental fees...who did they charge rental fees to for the 3 years it was abandoned on my property????

this seems like unfair business practices to me.

i have been nice to them but they are not nice back, so i am exploring my options.
 
  #5  
Old 03-30-07, 01:18 PM
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 3,140
Robert: This is just one of those things in life. They own the tank. they rent out the tanks to hold the propane they sell. You say you did not want the tank, however, you asked to have it filled, and you took possession of the propane and paid for it. I know you don't like it, or think thats its unfair, but thats how it is. Its just like having an oil tank in the ground or basement if you have an oil furnace. It just goes with the territory. Now, if you really don't want it, then have them pump your tank and remove their tank and pay your bill. This is just a propane tank. Not a world calamity. Have a good day.
 
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