The propane tank is empty and the temperature in the house is gradually getting cooler. It is going to be a cold night. Fortunately a new tank will be filled with propane tomorrow. We are changing propane suppliers. The attached note I wrote to the president of the old supplier likely tells the story best.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to you because of a discussion that I had with one of your employees.

We have lived at our current rural address in Kingston, Ontario for almost 4 years. And, during that time, we have relied on your company to provision our home with propane gas. The service has always been satisfactory. We spend a significant amount of money with your company each year.

Approximately two and a half weeks ago we were running low on propane and we called your company for a service. The service was provided promptly and our tank was filled as normal. We did not expect to see another service for at least four or five weeks. Historically, during the winter months, your company would generally refuel in a six-week interval.

The weather patterns in Kingston have been very challenging this year. We have seen extreme variations in temperature with significant precipitation. Over this past week, our 900-foot long drive received several layers of ice due to the unusual weather patterns.

On Tuesday evening of this week, my wife and I spent several hours treating our lane with de-icing agents, however, the weather conspired to deliver additional rain and then, with the freezing temperatures, our drive once again was covered with a significant layer of ice.

My wife and I went into Toronto on Wednesday morning and returned to Kingston on Thursday evening.

Your company, without notice, attempted a delivery at roughly 11:30pm on the Wednesday evening. The drive was not passable and the driver’s vehicle was stranded on our drive. He arranged for a tow.

Your representative called my wife to say that your company would be charging us an undisclosed sum of money for the towing expenses.

I called your representative and I tried to articulate my concerns about such a charge but he was quite taken with the sound of his own voice. If I tried to make comment, he simply kept speaking. Listening to customer concerns is clearly not a strength for your representative.

He told me that I was responsible to keep my drive passable at all times. 24 hours a day. 7 days a week. No matter whether I was home or not. Just in case the propane truck might decide to make a late-night visit. And that he would be charging us for the tow.

This, quite frankly, is unreasonable.

To summarize:

1. The weather patterns this winter have been highly unusual and it has been extremely challenging to maintain a passable drive
2. We were in another city and not at home therefore we were unable to attend to the drive on the Wednesday and Thursday
3. We were not expecting any delivery from your company as the tank had just been filled two weeks before
4. Although we sincerely regret that the driver was stranded on our drive at 11:30pm at night, we do not see why we would be responsible for him deciding to risk the lane that late in the evening particularly with the freezing rain, rain, snow and ice conditions prevalent in our area

I asked your representative for a copy of the contract that was signed by me and to highlight in that contract the section that articulates a specific responsibility for me to pay towing expenses in such a situation. If I signed such a contract, then I have no option but to pay — however I do not recall seeing such language in my copy of the service agreement.

Your representative was quite dogmatic on the phone. He did not want to listen to my perspective. He would not disclose the towing fees he was intending to charge us with. He visited our property without our permission to take photographs of our drive.

I raise this to your attention as I was surprised to learn that your company, aside from provisioning propane, also operates as an enforcement agency dispensing fines to customers.

I also wanted you to know that we will not pay for any towing charges.

Richard Cleaver

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