AmeriGas Accused of Gouging

By: Brian Johnson Email
By: Brian Johnson Email

Propane prices have dropped considerably from a few months ago when there was a shortage, but those who paid the high prices won't forget anytime soon.

"Certainly we are finding that they have good reason to be upset," said Joy Yearout, a spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette's office. AmeriGas allegedly charged excessively high propane prices and had other questionable business practices.

According to the complaint filed by the attorney general, some customers had a contract specifying a lower rate, yet AmeriGas charged those customers high prices.

"There is a lot of merit to the consumer's complaints," said Yearout. "That's why we have filed these subpoena requests with the court to ask the companies to formally respond and explain their behavior."

Some customers had to pay nearly $7 per gallon for propane. One customer in Howell said he was quoted one price per gallon and then was charged twice the original rate.

"Attorney General Schuette's very concerned for people who struggled through a tough winter and might not have been treated fairly by a company." said Yearout.

A customer in Laingsburg had two tanks filled on the same day in January at the same address, the second tank was billed for $1.05 more per gallon than the first tank.

This second round of subpoenas comes because of 44 individual customer complaints against AmeriGas specifically. Statewide the attorney general's office has received more than 400 complaints against several different companies, although there could be many still out there.

"One real concern he has is how many people haven't complained to our office. How many people in the winter just were fed up, paid the higher bill and just thought that's what they had to do to," said Yearout.

For some it was pay or go freezing, a decision the attorney general does not accept.

We reached out to AmeriGas to comment for this story, but we did not hear back. The company has until June 26 to respond to the attorney general's subpoenas.

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