The Truth About AmeriGas Propane: Great Stock to Own, but not so Great to be a Customer or an Employee !
I have worked for AmeriGas for several years, serving proudly in various capacities and locations for the company. There came a point in my "career" with the company where my conscious simply could not comply with the company's unethical practices any longer. When I first began with the company, I felt appreciated because they seemed to take my word over that of the customer-always. I thought that was great, because I knew I was always fair and honest to the customers, but soon enough I learned that they treat all employees, and customers great initially.
FIRST: my opinion of their ideal local MANAGER candidate. One willing to lie to the employees and customers. At one location in which i was employed the manager commented during a meeting that our district was losing just over ten customers a day on average, but that we were gaining almost twelve customers a day, noting that even though we were working through some issues, he remarked how proud he was of the crew. The billing clerk however pointed out two main reasons why she felt virtually all of the AmeriGas customers were switching to other gas companies: either due to out of the ballpark gas prices, or lack of any response from the office staff on issues and they went ignored after repeated attempts to make contact or reach a satisfactory resolution. The manager's response to the billing clerk--"We don't need those kinds of customers, and furthermore, as long as we are gaining more customers than we are losing, nothing else matters!" The manager went on to explain how he felt about the customers that switched to other gas companies...he put up his middle finger and waived it back and fourth.
SECOND: my opinion of their ideal CUSTOMER SERVICE REPRESENTATIVE candidate. One willing to lie to the customers and possessing an innate enjoyment of constant engagement with customers in verbal judo; obviously great for collections, keeping delivery trucks on-route irregardless of who needs a delivery (in the name of productivity and efficiency), and don't be surprised if they "have no record" of you ever calling for a delivery; it buys them more time. They will need the extra time because they have thousands of high gas consumption customers (and usually have an average of between only two or three trucks on the road at absolute most delivering gas, covering a very large territory), and making customers with service issues submit to inflated service bills for service that should have been free most of the time. AmeriGas has two notable "computer glitches" lately (these glitches have been going on for several years now, but most employees don't know it because employees don't stay very long) which are: One, customers will fall off the protected price that they paid extra for, which supposedly guaranteed them to be locked in at a set price per gallon for a set period of time, and Two,the ten dollar late fee that ALL customers are charged once to twice every year. About half of the customer base will call, clogging up the phones for two weeks (stressing out the small office staff) complaining about one or both of these mysterious issues, and the office staff are instructed to tell the customer that although they have not heard of the problem before, and that they cannot explain how it happened, other than the possibility of a "computer glitch" to immediately apologize and credit the account. Amazingly, about another half either have not noticed the erroneous but intentional additional charges and either don't call, or have tried to call, but gave up because of understaffed offices. AmeriGas knows that virtually of the calls coming into their local offices are from customers that deserve credits on their account, so not just in the name of saving on staffing costs, but in the name of playing an avoidance game they make it difficult for their customers to get through. The frustrated customers often give up trying to get through and just pay the bill. The Customer Reps are instructed to NEVER return calls if there is a credit. This method of doing business is great for the shareholders but not great for the customers that don't have a lot of extra time on their hands. The remaining customers just blindly pay their bill, without looking at it carefully. The customer reps are trained to empathetically look for opportunities to make the customer think that AmeriGas is right, and to act on those opportunities; and to convince the customer that the easiest thing to do is to submit, then grin and bear the situation, however unjust it may seem.
My opinion of their ideal DELIVERY REPRESENTATIVE: one that is good at telling lies, and are skilled enough to make those lies believable. A residential heating customer with small children may be out of gas in the middle of night in the winter, but if a commercial customer is out of gas at around the same time, and lives seventy-five miles in the other direction, guess which way the AmeriGas driver is going to go? If they choose to go to the residence first, even if the call came in first, they will be first in the unemployment line the next day. Virtually all AmeriGas rookie drivers lack training and experience in checking a customer gas system for safety. Many veteran AmeriGas drivers lack the intelligence to properly test a system for safety as well. The company's reasoning is that "If the leak is serious enough, someone will smell it and we will send a tech out there". Most of the time, in the name of saving money, they instruct the driver to tell the customer that "they system is checked, and is fine, and to have the customer sign a leak check form" when oftentimes there are several leaks in the customer's system. AmeriGas is ok with leaks, as the customer will use more gas, and they oftentimes are not willing to pay for the experienced skilled labor, training, and "extra time" to have a technician stay there to ensure the system is safe, despite all of their self-proclaimed "we are the leader of safety" hoopla. Most AmeriGas customers' gas systems have leaks, and they know it. To further illustrate this truth, each year, AmeriGas experiences more and more legal claims from the general public concerning deaths, serious injuries, and property damage, as well as across the board increases in employee accidents and injuries. These observations are not significant to AmeriGas for two reasons: One, AmeriGas' level of profit continues to reach higher levels, year after year, as the direct result of increased efficiency and productivity. Two, AmeriGas has some of the best attorneys that are experts in minimizing all claims against AmeriGas. If in doubt, simply type in "AmeriGas Vs." in any search engine and you will quickly find that they win virtually all cases, and only are liable to throw a meager amount of money to surviving family members, etc. They can and will fight tooth and nail and have high degrees of success in defending themselves against lawsuits, even when they know they are totally responsible for the carnage.
Fort Pierce, Florida