Showing posts with label Amerigas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Amerigas. Show all posts

August 10, 2011

Done with AmeriGas, I Hope

On July 11th, having switched to a local propane provider, I sent a letter to the AmeriGas manager in Colorado Springs, Rick Rivers, requesting that the rented tank be removed from our guest cabin.

Coincidentally, one of the neighbors also abandoned AmeriGas over pricing issues and switched to a different local propane provider.

That meant that two tanks were sitting in the tall grass waiting to be picked up. Some time last week they disappeared. Wonderful. If they try to charge me for that service, I may have to point out that I do not have a signed agreement with them. I don't think I had a signed agreement with the predecessor company either.

So is this the end of our saga of trying to get free from AmeriGas? I hope so.

Previous AmeriGas entries from last winter:

AmeriGas: We'll Let You Freeze

AmeriGas: Poor Customer Service—Nationwide! 

AmeriGas's Phony Fran Found This Blog

February 09, 2011

AmeriGas's Phony Fran Found this Blog

GWherever people post complaints on the Web about AmeriGas's poor propane service, "Fran" is not far behind.

Fran wants you to contact her directly, and she will take care of things.

As if.

Fran is a fake.

Today she found my two recent posts about problems with AmeriGas: "AmeriGas: We'll Let You Freeze" and "AmeriGas: Poor Customer Service—Nationwide!"

"Fran" posted her usual cut-and-paste offer to help. "Hello, my name is Fran and I work for AmeriGas . . ."

But phony Fran fouled up. She signed in with her Blogger account, revealing that she is not "Fran," a competent, take-charge, fix-the-problem sort of gal, but one Stasia DeMarco from the Philadelphia area.

She is listed as blogger or co-blogger on no fewer than eight Blogspot blogs, none of which have been updated since 2010, and some not since 2008 or 2009. (I smell some kind of search engine-optimization scheme here.) Some are (were) co-blogged with one Bob DeMarco, identified as a "veteran Wall Street executive."

She hosts podcasts for Drexel University in Philadelphia. She has a Web site. She Tweets (but not about Amerigas.) She does radio work. And so on.

And she is the phony face of Fran for AmeriGas, part of their pitiful excuse for customer service on the Web.

Times must be tough. Maybe she fell victim to some kind of "work at home, make big money misusing social media" pitch from AmeriGas.

I expect that she is merely one of a group of phony Frans.

And that is how AmeriGas treats its customers—with phoniness and fake concern.

February 08, 2011

Amerigas: Poor Customer Service—Nationwide!

Since my post last month about problems with Amerigas propane service, I discovered that I am not alone, not at all.

Just one of several Web sites for retail-business complaints lists pages of complaints about Amerigas.

And here's the thing: Propane is propane. There is no significant difference between propane delivered in an Amerigas truck and propane delivered by Joe's Propane Service.

The difference is in service, which Amerigas appears to be lacking nationwide, based on what a little Web-surfing has shown me.

So be a "locavore" propane customer.

When you do get your tank filled, it's a Good Thing. A friend living near Taos, New Mexico, wrote that she appreciates propane more after last week's natural-gas emergency in that state, which led to thousands of households losing gas service.

"We are among the luckiest in town right now with our propane heat," she wrote.

Of course, wood heat with propane backup is my favorite: the lambent glow of a wood stove plus a gas-fired furnace to keep the pipes from freezing when we go away.

January 22, 2011

'Amerigas: We'll Let You Freeze'

That's my new advertising slogan for Amerigas, offered free gratis for corporate use. It can be an alternative to "reliable, safe, responsive," which is, frankly, a little dated.

"We'll keep you guessing" might work too.

Although we heat part of the time with wood, like most rural folks, we depend on propane as fuel for cooking, heating water, and heating the house at night or when we are away.

From 1992 through 2007, our propane needs were supplied by All Star Propane of Cañon City. Their drivers were almost as unstoppable as Herodotus’ Persian couriers, except that they did not deliver during “gloom of night.”  They came on a regular basis and topped off the tanks at both houses—ours and the rental cabin.

Then All Star was bought by a national company, Amerigas, and customer service immediately got much, much worse. They consolidated operations into Colorado Springs and claimed  that through some kind of computer wizardry, they knew when you needed gas and when you did not, so as the tank dropped past 15 or 10-percent full, you could call them up and complain, receiving vague, meaningless promises in return, and just wait until they filled you up on their timetable.

What is worse, they put both of our tanks on one account. Although the tank at the cabin is leased from them (the normal arrangement with propane suppliers), the tank at our house is owned by us.

Every winter, you could count on the driver to stop by, fill the tank at the cabin, which is closer to the county road, and drive away, assured that he had taken care of that account—but forgetting all about our tank.

More phone calls, more promises, more waiting, more anxiety.

Lucky for us, we can heat with wood during the day, keeping furnace usage to a minimum. I called Amerigas in Colorado Springs and suggested splitting the one account into two—but what do I know? I’m just the customer. Manager Rick Rivers and his merry crew do things their way. (No doubt they have a 40-slide PowerPoint training presentation about all this.)

It happened again this winter—the driver filled up the cabin tank on Dec. 15 and ignored ours. When we came back from our New Mexico trip, it still had not been filled. Then I started with the phone calls again.  Suzanne in the Colorado Springs office promised a fill-up by Friday, Jan. 14.

Of course, no one came. When I tried to call back the next week, they did not even answer the phones or an email to the residential service manager, Mila Sacket, so I had to try the national customer-service number. More promises of immediate action.

Finally on Jan. 20th the Amerigas driver arrived. By then, however, I had given up on them, and with the tank sinking towards 5 percent full (when do we lose vapor pressure and the pilot lights start going out?), I had called a Cañon City supplier, Enxx Propane, where the owner answers the telephone, and they do not even have a Web site

Nevertheless, since the Amerigas driver was on the scene, and the screw-up was not his fault, I asked him if he could top off the cabin tank—it ought to have taken about 100 gallons. “All the drivers carry blank tickets,” Suzanne had said.

No, he could not. He did not have any blank tickets. He could only go to addresses that the computer told him to go to. No individual initiative here at Amerigas!

With propane as with food, it seems better to seek out a local supplier, but in some places that switch is getting to be harder and harder.