October 29, 2003
Sean Caine, 410-576-6357
PROPANE GAS SUPPLIER SETTLES WITH ATTORNEY GENERAL’S
General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer
Division has reached a settlement with a Millersville,
Maryland propane gas supplier over the company’s imposition
of an “environmental fee." The company, United Propane,
Inc., agreed to stop charging its existing customers the environmental
fee and to return the environmental fees it had previously charged.
Propane, at 205 Najoles Road, Millersville, provides liquid propane
to customers throughout Maryland, with branch offices
in Hagerstown, Kent Island, La Plata, St. Leonard, Leonardtown,
Mt. Airy, Rosedale, Salisbury and St. Michaels. The Consumer Protection
Division alleged that United Propane violated the Maryland Consumer
Protection Act by having consumers enter into multi-year service
agreements and then charging consumers an additional "environmental
fee,” which had not been disclosed in the contracts, each
time gas was provided.
Although United Propane denied it violated the law, it agreed
to stop charging customers environmental fees unless the fee was
first disclosed in its contracts, and to return the environmental
fees of approximately $7,500, either as a service credit or as
a restitution payment that will be distributed by the Division.
Under the settlement, the company also agreed to pay the Consumer
Protection Division $5,000 for its costs.
cannot be asked to pay fees unless they are adequately disclosed
in their service
agreements," said Attorney General Curran. The Attorney
General urged consumers to make sure they know all of the fees
into a contract and then to check all bills to make sure that they
are only being charged fees to which they agreed.