Complaints from propane customers lead to state investigation - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Complaints from propane customers lead to state investigation

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(03/20/14) - Complaints from Mid-Michigan propane customers have triggered a state investigation over possible price gouging.

In January, we told you Ferrellgas customers were complaining about high prices. Those customers thought they were locked in at lower prices.

Now, the state's attorney general wants answers.

"We really felt cheated, along with a lot of other neighbors felt cheated," said Suzanne White, Ferrellgas customer.

That's why White and her husband contacted the Attorney General's Office. They documented the pricing practices of Ferrellgas, the propane company the family has bought from for seven years.

The White's thought they were locked into a certain price, but were then told something else.

"Instead of $3 something a gallon, it was $5.59 a gallon for two days, and the bill for a 60 percent tank was $1,900, and I said that is too much money," White said.

The story is similar to the one Rochelle Eastman of Saginaw County told us in January.

"It's like a kick in the stomach," she said.

Attorney General Bill Schuette has filed a subpoena petition in Saginaw County, in attempt to get an explanation from Ferrellgas and its affiliate, Best Propane.

The company denies any wrongdoing and says this was a year of unprecedented challenges - from a shortage of propane, to logistical problems.

In a statement, Schuette says, "We are prepared to take legal action if it is determined that state law has been broken."

The Michigan Protection Act bans retailers from misleading customers. Since January, consumers filed more than 700 complaints with Schuette's office, including 65 against Ferrellgas and Best Propane - numbers much higher than those filed against other companies.

White is glad an investigation has started, and she has started looking at another way to heat her home.

"I called Consumers, I am done with Ferrellgas," she said.

Ferrellgas has more than 20 offices in Michigan.

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