MOORE COUNTY, N.C. (WNCN) — CBS 17 is looking into a growing number of complaints against a national propane company that has reached the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Amber Nottingham contacted us this week saying she paid more than $600 for propane that Amerigas was supposed to deliver to her son’s Moore County home on Dec. 19, 2020.
“The day came and went and they didn’t show up,” Nottingham said.
The family used space heaters to stay warm through Christmas.
“It was freezing in the house, it was like thirty-something degrees downstairs,” Nottingham said. “You can’t go without heat, especially if you’ve already paid for it.”
Amber says the company’s customer service made the problem worse.
“Today I got hung up on three times, yesterday I was on hold for over an hour…last week it rang and rang,” Nottingham said. “Trying to get a hold of them and sit on hold for hours just to be hung up on is very frustrating.”
When we started looking into Amber’s complaint, we learned the North Carolina Attorney General’s Office received 28 complaints against Amerigas this year.
“We’ve seen an uptick in complaints against Amerigas,” NC Attorney General Josh Stein said. “We’ve been in contact with the company and they assure us they will work to address people’s issues – we hope they will.”
He says Amerigas told his office they experienced issues because of a new computer system.
“My concern isn’t what caused it, it’s that they fix it and that they do right by their customers,” Stein said. “My sincere hope is that Amerigas gets its act together, but that’s why we really do need to hear from its customers because the only way we know if things are working right is if people let us know.”
The Better Business Bureau reports more than 900 complaints were filed from people around the country against Amerigas in the past three years.
The company is not BBB accredited, but they do respond to customer complaints on the BBB’s website.
In general, the BBB says utility companies tend to get more complaints than other types of businesses because people rely on their utilities.
“You don’t think of a gas company as an emotional business, but when you think of what it provides to a person or their family, it is personal and it is emotional,” said Renee Wikstrom with the BBB of Coastal Carolina. “If you get no response from the company, we encourage people to file complaints.”
There is good news for Amber’s family, she says Amerigas delivered their propane the day after we called the company.
Stein says 10 of the 28 complaints filed this year have been resolved.
“If people are not getting the resolution they need we ask them to keep us informed so that we can do what is necessary to protect North Carolina consumers,” Stein said.
This is the statement Amerigas emailed regarding the complaints:
“AmeriGas takes great pride in customer satisfaction and the quality of our service. Providing propane to our customers so they can heat their homes, cook for their families, and run their business is our highest priority. To deliver on this priority, we have been centralizing the structure of our customer service team. Unfortunately, we had some growing pains during this process while also managing the effects of the pandemic.
We are currently experiencing high call volume and our propane deliveries have been delayed in certain areas. We apologize to these customers who have experienced a delay in service. We know this can be frustrating and we are working hard to make necessary adjustments. In the last few weeks, we more than doubled our customer service staff. We have also expanded customer-service hours to now include Saturdays from 8-5pm EST. In areas needing additional delivery support, we’ve expanded services an extra day (6 days a week) and two extra hours each day (from 8 to 10 hours). We are continuing to hire and train delivery and service representatives and have shifted our field resources to assist in specific areas that require assistance.
For the fastest possible service, we encourage customers to visit www.myamerigas.com [myamerigas.com] where you can order fuel, pay your bill, and update usage information. For our Will-Call delivery customers, we encourage them to call for a delivery when their tank is at 30% to ensure a timely delivery and avoid an out of gas situation. We are committed to continually improving the ability to address all of our customers’ needs.”Statement from AmeriGas