SOURCE: Nichols Kaster, PLLP

Nichols Kaster, PLLP

May 19, 2010 11:20 ET

Nichols Kaster Files Nationwide Action Against Suburban Propane for Residential Propane Customers Charged Unfair and Excessive Prices and Fees

NEWARK, NJ--(Marketwire - May 19, 2010) - On March 17, 2010, the law firm of Nichols Kaster, PLLP filed a nationwide consumer class action against Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. and its operating subsidiary, Suburban Propane, L.P. The lawsuit alleges that Suburban Propane unfairly charges its customers excessive prices for propane, without disclosing its per gallon price in advance of delivery. In addition, the lawsuit alleges that Suburban Propane unlawfully charges its customers a variety of fees that are not properly disclosed, including tank pump out and pick up fees that are designed to prevent customers from rejecting deliveries and choosing a competitor.

Lead Plaintiff Robert Slack became so upset about Suburban Propane's business practices that he launched his own website, www.suburban-propane-class-action.com, in January of 2010, to express his concerns. According to the lawsuit, many of Suburban Propane's customers from across the country have submitted written comments to his website reporting similar experiences, and have reported being charged prices of as much as $7.00 per gallon.

Suburban Propane is the fourth-largest retail marketer of propane in the United States, measured by retail gallons sold. According to its most-recent Annual Report, residential customers accounted for less than half (44%) of Suburban Propane's retail propane sales by volume, but accounted for 61% of Suburban Propane's margins on retail propane sales during the most recent fiscal year, reflecting higher margins in its residential propane business.

Plaintiffs' counsel Paul Lukas stated, "it is wrong for Suburban Propane to exploit its residential customers by charging them arbitrary and exorbitant propane prices and hidden fees that are not disclosed until after delivery. When customers fill up the gas tank in their car, they are told the price in advance, are charged the same amount as the car in front of them, and are able to have their tank filled by a competitor without paying additional fees as a penalty. Suburban Propane's customers are entitled to the same protections. In fact, these customers are entitled to even greater protection because Suburban Propane owns many of its customers' tanks, and literally has them over a barrel because it does not allow other companies to fill those tanks."

Plaintiffs are represented by Paul Lukas, Kai Richter, and Rebekah Bailey from Nichols Kaster, PLLP, which has offices in Minneapolis, Minnesota and San Francisco, California. Plaintiffs also are represented locally by Patricia Barasch of Schall & Barasch, L.L.C. in Moorestown, New Jersey. The case is entitled Slack et al v. Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. et al, and is venued in federal district court in New Jersey, near Suburban Propane's corporate headquarters in Whippany, New Jersey.

Additional information about this case can be found at www.nka.com or may be obtained by calling Nichols Kaster, PLLP toll free at (877) 448-0492.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Paul J. Lukas
    Nichols Kaster, PLLP
    (612) 256-3205