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Boulden Brothers Propane

Additional Locations

Phone: (302) 368-2553 Fax: (302) 368-0128 View Additional Phone Numbers 540 Old Barksdale Rd., Newark, DE 19711 http://www.boulden.com

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BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Boulden Brothers Propane meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 16 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Boulden Brothers Propane include:

  • Length of time business has been operating.
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size.
  • Response to 4 complaint(s) filed against business.
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business.
  • BBB has sufficient background information on this business.


Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

4 complaints closed with BBB in last 3 years | 3 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 3
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 1
Total Closed Complaints 4

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Boulden Brothers Propane
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

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BBB file opened: August 14, 2005 Business started: 01/01/1946
Licensing

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Licenses, Division of Revenue
820 N. French Street, Wilmington DE 19801
http://www.state.de.us/revenue
Phone Number: 302-577-8778
Fax Number: 302-577-8203

Business Management
Mr. Timothy Boulden, President Mr. Michael Boulden, Vice President
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Timothy Boulden, President
Related Businesses
Boulden's One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning Boulden Brothers Plumbing Mister Sparky
Business Category

GAS-PROPANE GAS-PROPANE-EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES


Additional Locations

  • 503 Interchange Boulevard

    Newark, DE 19711

  • 540 Old Barksdale Rd.

    Newark, DE 19711 (302) 368-2553

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Types of Complaints Handled by BBB

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  • Advertising or Sales
  • Billing or Collection
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  • Guarantee or Warranty

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BBB Complaint Process

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Additional Phone Numbers

  • (800) 522-5610(Phone)
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Complaint Detail(s)

5/21/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: On February 10, 2014 I received a letter from Boulden Propane notifying me that they put a hold on my automatic delivery due to a missing payment. The letter was dated February 6, 2014 and this was the first and only notification that I received telling me that they had not received my payment which was due January 21 or there about. When I got home from work on February 10th I noticed the house was very cold and I had no heat as my tank had run too low for adequate pressure to run the furnace. At this point I hadn't even been home long enough to open the mail and had yet to see the letter. I called Boulden who sent out a delivery and paid the driver with a check for $587, the total amount of the bill despite the amount past due on my budget billing plan was only around $260. The next day I called Boulden to address the letter they had sent and was told that my delivery was originally scheduled for January 28th and that according to their records and calculations my propane tank had enough propane to last until February 20th. Obviously there was a huge miscalculation as to the amount of propane in my tank and for whatever reason they did not feel the need to contact me regarding payment BEFORE they canceled my scheduled delivery. Since the tank had run too low Boulden added an additional $149 charge for the emergency delivery. If Boulden would have either calculated the amount of propane accurately or enacted common, ethical business practices by notifying me that there was a payment issue PRIOR to canceling service and sending a letter after the fact, there would have been no need for an emergency delivery. Until I opened that letter I had no idea that a problem with my account existed. Therefore I shouldn't be responsible for the extra charge. In addition when I respectfully asked that they waive that fee I was rudely told that the fee would not be waived and if I would've paid my bill on time this would not have happened. Basically the woman (her first name was Pam or Pat) made me feel like a dead beat who doesn't want to pay her bills and I deserved to be punished. Naturally I was extremely offended at her rude attitude and lack of understanding and became highly upset and angry. This was and is a huge inconvenience for me but I am also concerned that if they continue these business practices the effects could be far more severe and dangerous if an ill or elderly person looses heat with sub-freezing temps.

Desired Settlement: Based on Boulden's miscalculation in the amount of propane in the tank and their failure to timely notify me of a payment issue I want the $149 after hours delivery fee removed from my account.

Business Response: *** ********* contacted our office on 12/16/13 to make payment on a delivery from 10/9/13.  Our credit terms for non-budget customers are net 20.  At that time our credit manager agreed to set the customer up for monthly budget payments. All budget payments are required by the 20th of the month and customer was informed of this requirement.  No payments were received by the customer prior to her running out of propane on 2/10/14.  During our conversation on 5/7/14, Ms. Feliciano stated that she knew the payment was due by January 20th and that she knew she was unable to make that payment by the due date.  However she did not call our office to let us know. 

We did have her account forecast for delivery on or about 1/28/14 and if a payment had been made, or if the customer had contacted our office about a late or partial payment, the delivery would have been released.  As it was, since no payment or phone call was made, on 1/28 the account went on delivery hold and the notification letter was sent on 2/6.  The original forecast run-out date was 2/20, which would have allowed for more time, but our forecast was off a bit due to the colder than normal weather.  However, I stand by the fact that, if the customer knew she was unable to make the required January payment it was her responsibility to notify us of the issue, especially since she has a history of late payments with our company (a 4/14/12 delivery paid for on 8/8/12 and a 3/27/13 delivery paid for on 7/3/13).  Based on this history we are unwilling to refund the $149 after hours charge.

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID ********, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I called and paid my account in full on December 16, 2013.   At that time a representative by the name of Jennifer set me up on a monthly budget payment plan with payments of $260 starting in January.   However, Boulden billed me  a total of $520 for  both December and January.   Since my account was paid in full on December  16th the amount of my January bill should have only been $260 not $520 nor should my account have reflected a 30 day past due balance.  I had no idea I was even being billed for 2 months until I received the letter after my service was canceled.  Further more since Boulden has never canceled a delivery without notifying me before the cancelation in the past I had no reason to believe that they would cancel my service without prior notification this time especially considering I was NOT 30 days past due.  Canceling services without first notifying the customer is not standard practice no matter what the circumstances or payment history.  For example, Delmarva Power, Artesian Water, Comcast Cable, AT&T, Sprint, Erlich Pest Control, All State Insurance, State Farm Insurance, Dish Network, Verizon and every other utility and service send out a notice requesting payment BEFORE they cancel or terminate service.  Expecting Boulden to function in the same manner is not far reaching or out of the norm.  This practice of notifying a customer after the fact when they are not even 30 days past due causing them undo hardship and then charging them additional fees is not the standard for any other utility or service.  And considering the nature of this business is to provide heat, this situation could have been tragic if I had been an elderly person or had a young child and this happened in the middle of the night with temperatures dropping to the low teens at best.  

 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

4/10/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: Boulden Propane refilled my tank at 45 percent.I am on budget billing and was paying $130.00per month. My billing went from $130.00 to $565.00 per month because their computer kicked out my address too early at 45 percent and not at the usual 25 percent.Reminder that I am on budget billing for a reason!! How can you budget for $565.00 from $130.00. When I called and asked about it I was told I would have until the end of July to pay my bill off in full and then and only then I could have more propane delivered.This early delivery is not any fault of my own! So now I am suppose to go without no hot water or heat until I can get my bill payed off in full which is by the way now $2000.00.

Desired Settlement: I would like Boulden to siphon out the amount of propane to take my bill back to $130.00 where it normally is. Second option would be to write off the dollar amount for the last delivery of propane.

Business Response: Our monthly budget program starts in August.  In July, we estimate a customer’s propane purchases for the coming twelve months, multiply that times what we think the price will be over the next year, and then divide by twelve, to come up with a monthly payment.  We review all budgets in January and again in April with the goal of having all plans as close to zero as possible by the end of July. 

There are two things that can cause a change in the monthly budget payment: 1) the weather is warmer or colder than average causing an increase or decrease in propane usage, and 2) the price of propane goes higher or lower than
we estimated.  This year was dramatically colder than average, and there was a spike in wholesale propane costs, causing most of our customer’s budget payments to increase.  Most did not go up as much as *** *****’s but the increased payment was based on what she had used and what we estimated she would use by the end of July. 

An automatic delivery was made on 3/4/14, at which time our system was estimating *** *****’s tank to be at our trigger point of 25%.  These estimates are made using historical usage.  And while we strive to deliver at 25%, we have never guaranteed that delivery point.  *** ***** has now gone on will-call for future deliveries so she will have the responsibility of monitoring the tank level and call us when she feels she needs a delivery.

We will gladly send a technician to pump out the gallons that were delivered on 3/4/14 and credit that full amount back to *** *****’s account.  Our credit manager reviewed *** *****’s monthly budget after crediting that delivery back to her account, and calculated her monthly payment at $200/month to pay off the current balance by the end of July, assuming no more deliveries.

We apologize for any hardship to *** *****.  We do our best to calculate the monthly budget payments but predicting the weather and energy prices a year in advance is not an exact science.
 
We currently have the job scheduled for the morning of Thursday 3/27.  If that time does not work for *** ***** she should contact our dispatcher, ***** ***** ** *************  

BBB's Final Determination: Business offered a resolution. Consumer did not pursue further with BBB and the matter was assumed to be resolved

3/4/2014 Billing/Collection Issues | Read Complaint Details
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Additional Notes

Complaint: I received a propane delivery on January 28th, 2014. The invoice stated a delivery of 154 gallons with a balance due of 372.50. I received a bill in the mail for 531.88. When I contacted Boulden they said they would look into it and call me back. I received a call and they stated the invoice was an error and I would have to pay the 531.88. If I walk into a store and a price is on that item that company must sell that item for that price. I don't understand why my invoice from the truck that delivered the propane should not stand. If there is an error in their system that is not my fault. I had prepurchased propane and they said i was given that rate when I shouldn't have because I used all I had pre-purchased. I believe the invoice a contract and I do not feel they are honoring what their driver stated I owed. I don't think it is fair to come back weeks later and say no the rate is not 2.39 a gallon but 3.44. I feel they should honor the invoice.

Desired Settlement: I have been a great customer and always paid my bill for 11 years. I feel this is poor customer service and they should at least take responsibility for their mistake.

Business Response: *** ******* pre-purchased 525 gallons of propane on 7/9/13 at a rate of $2.39 per gallon.  The letter outlining the price protection plans for the 2013/14 heating season outline the requirements and restrictions of the plans. The fourth bullet point clearly states that “Any delivery required outside of this time frame, or in excess of the prepaid gallons, will be delivered at our regular-posted price under our regular terms of sale.”

Normally the delivery tickets for customers who pre-paid for their propane only show the gallons pumped and a statement is mailed from the office outlining the costs of the delivery.  Due to an error with our on-truck computers the ******* delivery ticket extended the entire delivery at the pre-buy price of $2.39 per gallon even though they only had 2 gallons left of the original 525 they had purchased (A delivery of 523 gallons had been made on 10/31/13).  When the deliveries were uploaded, the error was corrected and the Smiths were invoiced for 2 gallons at $2.39 per gallon and 152 gallons at the market rate of $3.44 per gallon.

We do not consider a delivery ticket a contract, especially when the terms of the agreement are clearly outlined, and do not believe we owe the disputed amount.

Consumer Response:

Better Business Bureau:

I have reviewed the response made by the business in reference to complaint ID *******, and have determined that this does not resolve my complaint.  For your reference, details of the offer I reviewed appear below.

I see where Boulden wants to state what the responsibility of the customer is but takes no responsibility for a company's responsibility in  providing a correct invoice at the time of delivery.  I also have reviewed my deliveries since 2006 .  I am on automatic delivery and I have never received anything less than 462 gallons at a delivery.  In fact most deliveries were for 500 to 600 gallons. The delivery in question was for 154 gallons.  I find it suspect that they would choose to make a delivery when the price they are charging is so high.   I had a friend call their company to inquire what the price of propane was per gallon and he could not get a clear answer and was transferred on the phone to several different people.  Why is the price of propane so difficult to state over the phone to a person making an inquiry?  I guess you can decide what you want to charge a customer  whenever you want to. and even change that after making an invoice at the time of delivery.  Clearly I do not agree with their response  because they take no ownership in the mistakes they made with my account.

 

 

 

 

BBB's Final Determination: After reviewing the position of all parties, BBB determined that the business made a reasonable effort to address the complaint. However the consumer remains dissatisfied.

10/1/2012 Problems with Product/Service
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