Propane company being investigated for price gouging
Thu, 20 Mar 2014 22:28:57 GMT —
Ferrellgas is coming under fire for what it's been charging its customers during the unseasonably cold winter in Michigan. Attorney General Bill Schuetteâ??s office is investigating the company for propane price gouging. His office says, at times, Ferrellgas has been charging more than double the market value.
A spokesperson for Attorney General Bill Schuette tells me what raised a red flag was that consumers were quoted a lower rate, but then charged, at times, more than double that once their bill came.
Now, the AGâ??s office is looking into if the company complied with the Michigan Consumer Protection Act.
65 complaints were filed against the company with the AGâ??s office, and the bulk of them are from consumers in Saginaw County.
"It could be attractive for companies to charge high prices for propane when there's an energy shortage going on nationwide, but that doesn't mean it's legal,â?? said Joy Yearout, Spokesperson, Attorney General Bill Schuette.
The attorney general's office has seen hundreds of propane price gouging complaints come through their office this winter.
When it came to the complaints on Ferrellgas a spokesperson for the AG says the company wasn't being cooperative with their investigation. Now, they've issued civil subpoenas to gain more information.
"When consumers are being treated unfairly we have a responsibility to step in,â?? said Yearout. "Sometimes consumers don't have the resources to get to the bottom of problems like this."
A spokesperson for Ferrellgas tells NBC25 the company didn't violate the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. Thursday they released this statement:
"The sudden wholesale price increases, supply constraints, and logistics challenges faced by the propane industry this winter were unprecedented and were particularly severe in the state of Michigan."
"The thing to keep in mind is Ferrellgas is no the only company that's facing supply problems this winter, but they are the only company that has 65 complaints with our office and their prices are constantly higher above the state average,â?? said Yearout.
Ferrellgas has 21 days to comply with the requests from Schutte's office.