United States District Judge Gary A. Fenner has granted preliminary approval to a settlement in a consumer fraud class-action lawsuit against Ferrellgas, which sells propane under the Blue Rhino label, alleging that the company reduced the amount of propane in tanks in 2008 when energy prices rose and failed to inform customers. Propane cylinders are used for a wide variety of applications including gas grills, patio heaters, outdoor fireplaces, mosquito traps and more.
When energy prices soared in 2008, the price of propane gas increased. It was alleged in the lawsuit that Ferrellgas reduced the amount of propane in the tanks from 17 pounds to 15 pounds, in lieu of raising the price for a full tank. The complaint alleged further that Ferrellgas kept consumers in the dark about the switch, leading them to believe they were purchasing a ‘”full” cylinder despite the reduced product volume.
On October 13, 2011, Judge Fenner granted preliminary approval to a settlement in the case for individuals who purchased a Blue Rhino propane gas cylinder between June 15, 2005, and October 6, 2011. The United States petroleum industry already suffers from a reputation problem and this scheme was another step in the wrong direction. Americans are struggling more than ever to fuel our vehicles and pay our utility bills, so there’s absolutely no room for dishonest dealings from other suppliers of petroleum goods.