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This business is not BBB accredited.
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Reason for Rating
BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.
Factors that affect the rating for Thrifty Propane, Inc. include:
- 190 complaint(s) filed against business
- Business has failed to resolve underlying cause(s) of a pattern of complaints
Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details
|Complaint Type||Total Closed Complaints|
|Problems with Product/Service||139|
|Total Closed Complaints||190|
Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews
|Customer Experience||Total Customer Reviews|
|Total Customer Reviews||40|
Type of Entity
Business ManagementMs. Angela D. Maloof, President Ms. Annmarie Buckingham, Paralegal
Gas - Propane Gas - Propane - Equipment & Supplies
Hours of Operation24 hours per day, 7 days a week
24 hours per day, 7 days a week BBB files indicate that this business has a pattern of complaints. Consumers allege they ordered propane from the business and did not receive it in a timely manner, even when the propane was prepaid. Consumers allege tanks and gauges are inaccurate or faulty, which makes it difficult for the consumer to contract for more propane before they reach critical levels. Consumers allege the business does not honor its price quotes for propane. Additionally, consumers complain that when they attempt to contact the business, they receive poor customer service.
On April 7, 2014, the business submitted its response:
To put these patterns in context, please bear in mind that in this relevant time period, Thrifty Propane has served over 100,000 customers in nine (9) states, and that we have resolved each of the fewer than 50 complaints in this period, that is fewer than 1 for every 2,000 customers served in this period.
1) Timely Delivery. We advise customers to allow extra time for deliveries during winter, with its high demand and poor road conditions, and to order propane before their tank drops below 30%. We ask customers to order in this way so that they do not run out of propane between the time they order and the time of delivery. This past winter, we struggled with deliveries because we had to keep all our customers supplied, even with partial fills, when we faced the pipelines' complete failure to provide adequate supply of propane as they exported propane to other parts of the world leaving nothing for the people here at home, a widely reported national emergency. This circumstance extended our normal delivery times. Thrifty customers can purchase propane from any dealer at any time. Because Thrifty operates on a will-call basis, we ask our customers to observe these practices as to their orders. Complaints as to deliveries arise when customers either run out of propane or get very low on propane prior to delivery. We believe that by communicating clearly concerning expectations and by working hard to complete deliveries within the time frame represented Thrifty is striving to do its part. We ask that our customers recognize that delivery can take extra time in the winter with high demand and poor road conditions and plan their purchases accordingly.
2) Emergency Fill Charge. We have had an Emergency Fill charge for many years. Because each of our delivery trucks serves a wide service area, we need to plan our delivery routes on a daily basis to maximize efficiency and minimize cost. When an emergency fill is scheduled, the driver has to "break route" so that significant man hours and vehicle mileage is spent on the emergency fill. Please bear in mind that we keep our prices as low as possible, so we keep our margin very thin. As a result, it is more of a strain to absorb the high costs associated with these emergency fills.
3) Gauge Issues. This issue is related to the delivery issue since we deliver on a will-call basis. Many of our customers own their tanks when they come to Thrifty, so we cannot warranty the functionality of the gauges on those tanks. Of the customers who have purchased tanks from us or lease tanks from us, we deliver them with factory-new gauges. We warn our customers on the front page of our website, www.thriftypropane.com, that tank gauges are not designed to provide pin-point accuracy: their readings are subject to air-pressure and ambient temperature, among other variables. The residential tank gauges rely on a magnetic float that rises and falls above the propane in the liquid state inside the tank. The rise and fall of the float inside the tank is shown on the round gauge face outside the tank as a percentage. These percentage readings vary from hour to hour, even when no propane has been used, because of the propane liquid expands and contracts with the weather, and the float can even get caught inside the tank. We urge our customers to order before the residential gauge drops below 30% for this very reason, that the accuracy of the gauge is of limited reliability, and we would rather fill early than fill after a tank has gone empty. These residential tank gauges are purely a convenience for the customer, in contrast to the meters on our delivery trucks, which are tested annually to state standards as part of their annual licensing with the state, that compensate for temperature and air pressure variations, and rely on a completely different mechanism.
4) Quoted Price. Thrifty sets its price for propane at the time of order. The price is confirmed by email in the case of online orders and by recorded telephone conversation in the case of telephone orders. That price is entered into the customer notes as the set price. The driver is assigned the price with each delivery, and has no authority to vary the price for any reason on the ticket that is printed upon delivery and left with the customer. The system is set to maintain consistency between the price quoted at the time of order and the price at delivery. Every customer pays the same price based upon volume ordered.
5) Customer Service Representatives. This coming summer we plan to increase the number of our call center inbound lines to reduce wait times for customers and stress for the customer service representatives. We have specific extensions for customers inquiring as to the amount of pre-buy they have and for orders. We also have an extension for general questions, which will be answered the on the same or following day. We have internet "chat," which provides 24-hour immediate response. We invite all to try it for themselves. We will also be expanding our base of customer service representatives this summer to better handle the volume of inbound calls. We have just initiated an ombudsman program, which will address specific customer concerns, which may be accessed from our website. Through our website, customers may inquire about the gallons they have on account and may inquire as to estimated delivery times. These customer inquiries are answered on a continuing basis in the order they are received.
As of March 9, 2015, Consumers continue to complain to BBB that they ordered propane from the business and did not receive it in a timely manner, even when the propane was prepaid. Additionally, consumers complain that when they attempt to contact the business, they receive poor customer service.
As of January 7, 2016, BBB continues to receive consumer complaints regarding failure to deliver propane in a timely manner and customer service.
Products & Services
Business provides propane and propane tanks.
Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Summary
BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview