LANSING (WJRT) (6/28/2018) - Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette's office is suing AmeriGas for a second time, alleging violations of state laws with pricing and service.
AmeriGas is one of Michigan's largest propane distributors, serving thousands of rural households. Schuette alleges they inflated prices, tacked on unnecessary fees and failed to deliver promised services.
The case is filed as a civil lawsuit seeking a monetary judgment, which would be distributed to customers affected by the alleged violations.
“Michigan Consumers deserve companies that follow the law, and I will hold them accountable,” Schuette said.
Some of the allegations mentioned in the lawsuit include:
-- AmeriGas allegedly charged some of its customers prices of $3 or more per gallon during the winter of 2015-2016. Schuette said the high prices were used to offset discounts for new customers. Average prices that winter generally ranged from $1.63 to $1.71 per gallon.
-- AmeriGas allegedly stopped refunding customers who return propane after terminating service. Schuette said the company instead resells the returned propane to other customers and keeps the money for itself.
-- AmeriGas charges a HazMat and Fuel Recovery fee on propane deliveries in Michigan, which are not government-mandated. Schuette alleges AmeriGas misleads consumers into believing that these fees are needed to cover overhead expenses, but those costs are already part of regular per-gallon pricing.
-- AmeriGas allegedly allowed 20 to 30 consumers served by its subsidiary, Schultz Bottle Gas, to run out of propane during the winter of 2015-2016. The company was responsible for keeping their tanks full as part of an auto-fill program.
Schuette last sued AmeriGas after the winter of 2013-2014 over pricing issues. That lawsuit was settled with $550,000 returned to affected consumers.
Schuette said at least one of the new allegations claims a violation of the 2014 settlement.