Suburban Propane - SeattlePrice Gouging and abuse of contract

This review was posted by
a verified customer
Verified customer

If you’re looking for a Propane Provider in the Seattle area, chose ANYONE BUT SUBURBAN PROPANE!

I've finally finished with my three year contract with Suburban Propane. From the very first time I called to have my tank filled I was charged $5.99 per gallon. I checked around and found that price was roughly double the going rate. I made this comment to the person at Suburban Propane only to be told that was a "teaser rate" offered by competitors and that rate would go up on the next refill. I tried to cancel their service but was told I was in a contract and could not cancel my service.

Later that first year I received a bill from Suburban Propane for a “pick up” I had allegedly made at their facility. I had never even been to their facilities and certainly don’t have a portable 120 gallon tank or the means to transport it. It took three months and eleven phone calls to resolve the issue. During one of these calls I managed to get the lady who took my call to admit I was paying double their normal rate. My next fill cost me $2.47 per gallon. However, my subsequent filling cost me $5.99 per gallon. It took me three phone calls to resolve that issue. This was the last straw.

I called a competitor, Cenex, and not only did they charge less than half of what Suburban charged but they were extremely polite. Their pricing has never varied more than 5% and in fact has gone down recently. They were extremely sympathetic to my situation and informed me that they pull about ten of Suburban Propane’s tanks per week.

They came to my home, moved Suburban's tank behind my garage so I could wait out my contract and replaced it with their tank. I've waited over a year for my contract to end with Suburban. I called them today to cancel and was told I would be charged $90 for a tank removal charge. Suburban Propane is, by far, the worst company I have ever had to deal with. They actively go out of their way to gouge their customers and take every opportunity to treat them with contempt and use their contract as unfair leverage against their customers. It is my sincere hope that anyone considering signing up with Suburban Propane will chose their competitor instead. Companies like Suburban are parasites and need to cease to exist.


  • De
    Dee C Nov 27, 2012

    Contacted Suburban Propane (Tacoma is the main office for Woodinville residents) to have their tank removed from my property (they only wanted to fill it during the middle of winter when they had even-more-so inflated their prices, so I got my own tank and I can shop around now - and prefer the honest people at Pacer). I actually had to wait an extra year because they got to the tank before I could lock it and filled it when I didn't want them out (so I had to use it up - it is apparently illegal to transport these tanks with any fuel in them; and they do not buy back fuel). Suburban told me that I must pay $90 to them to pick up their own tank! Funny, just over a year ago they picked up my mother's tank and charged her nothing to do so. Suburban doesn't like to explain themselves and the women in the office get angry when you complain. They were rude and even hung up on me claiming that I was yelling when I questioned them. They wanted to know my mother's name so that they could go after her for the 'forgotten' fee! They are sending me a copy of 'my' contract though it was my daughter-in-law who started service with them, and I have never signed a contract with them (though I guess it is considered a contract because one pays the rental yearly to them). Anyway, I am very disappointed in their shenanigans to say the least.

    0 Votes
  • Ch
    Chris F. Feb 17, 2011

    Thanks for your update. I bought my home 22 years ago, thus "inherited" this account. I've been just dutifully paying these gas bills all these years. I have personally never signed anything with this company in 22 years. So, I cannot possibly still be under any contract. I do pay the annual tank rental fee of $38, which I just paid last month. The complaints about Suburban Propane are from all over of the country, so I'm guessing that this behavior starts at and probably encouraged/rewarded by their corporate HQ, as opposed to just a couple bad locations. Thanks to the internet, those who know how to use it, are starting to wake up to this companies antics. Were able to read others complaints and check average prices. A 10-15% difference might be justified, ...but "by about double" is totally unacceptable!

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  • Br
    Brian in Seattle Feb 16, 2011
    This comment was posted by
    a verified customer
    Verified customer

    A driver for Suburban Propane came to my house today to pick up their tank. We had it stored behind the garage for the last year waiting for our contract to expire. He asked why we were leaving Suburban Propane. I told it was because they were overcharging. He said, “by about double?” He then followed up saying this is what he does all day long and he was now trying to get a job with the competition. I mentioned the $90 cancellation charge we were expecting and he responded it was a common threatening tactic used by his employer and that he doubted I would actually be billed.

    Based on my conversation with the driver and with the comments on this and other boards it is clear to me that consumers are waking up to the fact that they are being gouged by Suburban Propane. It is unfortunate that Suburban Propane continues to hold their customers hostage with contracts that lock them into paying exorbitant rates. I guess I'll wait and see if the threatened $90 cancellation charge will actually be billed to me.

    If you are in a contract with Suburban, do what I did. Hire the competition and store Suburban Propane’s tank on your property until the contract expires. You will end up paying for the yearly tank rental fee but $60 is significantly less than the additional $250+ over the market rate you pay for just one fill up of one 90 gallon propane tank.

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  • Ch
    Chris F. Feb 16, 2011

    Brian, please let us know how your situation with Suburban Propane turned out. People out here are interested, and need to be informed about companies who operate in such a manner!

    0 Votes

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