Propane Rehab – or why NOT to rent your propane tank

(Read this post, then read the next post for the followup solution to my problem)

We bought the house, but apparently the 500 Gallon propane tank buried in the ground survived the foreclosure and is still owned by the Propane company that rented it to the previous owners.  Note, there is no proof anywhere that they own it, they say it and it is so.

Here is the deal they offered us.  Rent their 10 year old tank for $250/year.  Pay $200 for inspection and setup.  Sign a lease that says:

  • they can increase the fees at any time
  • we can only buy propane from them
  • they charge pretty much whatever they want
  • they bring it whenever they want
  • they automatically renew the lease unless you cancel 30 days prior to term ending
  • you pay to remove the tank (dig up and haul off) if you cancel the lease

And they kicker is they are charging $0.75 PER GALLON higher than the competition.  So on a single 500 gallon tank, filled to 80% capacity, you buy 400 gals * $.75 – $300 PER TANK overcharge.  I’m guessing maybe 4 tanks over the winter.  Any 2nd grader with a calculator should be able to work out that this is a bad deal.

When I told them I didn’t like the deal, but I would buy the tank, the snooty receptionists said “We don’t sell our tanks”.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS go to the person that can make a decision.  I got through the to manager and he offered to sell it for $1500.  I said no way, half the price or he could come get it.  He said he had to talk to his manager.  I feel like I’m buying a car.  Grr, this company really steams me up!

By the way, a new tank costs $700 up in PA.  For a few hours of driving (about $100 in gas) I can go get one.  Of course you have to have it installed so we’ll see how much that is.  I have two appointments to get bids tomorrow.

All this is urgent, because we don’t have any heat at the moment.  Fortunately we’re warming up and the next freeze is not for a week.  I better have this handled by then or you know who will be in the dog house!

If we do have to get a new one, it will be an above ground tank.  500 gallon tanks look like this:

This cracks me up.  We could get a 1000 gallon tank and have a submarine in the back yard!

Mrs. CapnRehab said “NO”.

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8 thoughts on “Propane Rehab – or why NOT to rent your propane tank

  1. Your land, your stuff. And your tank.
    If they can’t proof ownership, tell them to get lost.
    If they can, then it’s between the contract they have, and your contract with the prior homeowners. You typically by land and everything in it/on along with it.

    • Thanks for the comment!
      You would think so, but the prior owners can’t sell what they don’t own. So my 3 choices are
      a) make them take it away
      b) buy it from them.
      c) rent it from them. => No way I’m doing that.

    • They actually probably could show some documentation about installation. (although they haven’t) What I don’t have is any info on if they ever sold it to the homeowner. Even if they did sell it, they could shred that receipt and sell it to me again. Prior homeowners are gone – I would never know.

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