Amerigas Blue Rhino

consumer protection

Galphin said consumers should inspect the label wrap around the tank – called the “rust belt — to see if moisture has been trapped inside and caused rusting. He said consumers have the option of removing the label to reduce the risk of rust. Approved cylinders must have triangular valves with “OPD” etched on them. If the valve is either circular or flower-shaped, it is an illegal cylinder.

sold to walmart

There was no allegation in the complaint that the parties agreed in any way on the pricing of the lesser-filled propane tanks. Walmart was free to negotiate prices or any other price element with the parties. Yet, there is no allegation that Walmart tried but was unable to re-negotiate the price of the tanks with each of the parties. The majority alleged neither an agreement as to each party’s output level nor an agreement on reducing the amount of the propane in each firm’s tanks. While the former agreement, if reached, would clearly be per se unlawful, the latter would not necessarily be per se unlawful, in my view.

If the tank looks rusty, but still has the proper valve on it, then I exchange the tank for a nicer one. It’s nice not to run out of gas in the middle of bbq chicken. I recently bought a Weber Q 100 grill and Weber 6501 adapter hose for use with 20 lb. Bill Katz of AmeriGas said his company sent inspectors to each of the retailers where we bought its cylinders. He said the inspectors weighed and inspected every AmeriGas cylinder at each location. Each cylinder weighed right at, or in excess of, 15 pounds, he said.

No. 9360, Statement of Chairwoman Edith Ramirez and Commissioner Julie Brill, at 2 (Oct. 31, 2014). See also Concurring Statement of Commissioner Joshua D. Wright, at 3 (“Here, it is self-evident that AmeriGas and Blue Rhino’s agreement to reduce the amount of propane in tanks sold to Walmart has the economic effect of increasing the per unit price if prices are held constant.”) . Although the Commission may have discovered some smoke, there clearly was no fire in this case—whether fueled by propane or otherwise.


Meth cooks are buying propane tanks and emptying, then filling them with anhydrous ammonia and it weakens the tank structure. If you have a farmers co-op around there, they will generally have the ability to refill propane tanks. The ones here do it by weight so you get what you pay for.

The problem I found with that is some of the places have only fill it half way. There’s no obvious “full” blinking light that goes off and you are paying a flat rate not by the cubic foot or whatever it is. I’ve gotten tanks home before and using the very inexact weight gauge on my Weber it tells me I have a half full tank and it certainly seems to run out faster. I go to Lowes or someplace like that because I have faith that it’s a tank in decent condition and it’s actually full. It seems like Blue Rhino sells at a lot of gas stations around here, so I’ve been using them more lately. Blue rhino has some bs “proprietary” valve, you can’t refill them.

Even with regular use (couple times a week?), a full tank should last at least a couple/few months. I assume the S-345 has a tank holder attachment that is also a scale, so you determine roughly how much gas is left? Nothing like hitting up the swapper place and hearing that they are out.

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  • Other Mid-South retail outlets offer to re-fill propane cylinders on site, but consumers should confirm if the personnel performing those services are certified to fill the tanks.
  • Whether you choose to refill or exchange your propane tank, propane is the best way to keep your summer cooking.
  • The collusive agreement, as alleged, was facially anticompetitive and had the effect of raising the price per pound of propane exchange tanks to Walmart and likely ultimate consumers in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act, 15 U.S.C. § 45.
  • The second, contained in Paragraph II.B., prevents Respondents from sharing competitively sensitive non-public information with competitors except in identified circumstances.
  • AmeriGas propane grill tanks contain a net weight of 15lbs of propane.
  • Our team combines top-notch technical and legal knowledge with strategy, creativity, experience, and passion.

It cost me $14 to fully fill a tank this spring vs. $22 for a tank swap at the local gas station. We accept all brands of propane tanks and cylinders for exchange. Other Mid-South retail outlets offer to re-fill propane cylinders on site, but consumers should confirm if the personnel performing those services are certified to fill the tanks.

AFAIK, you can exchange them at either place – whichever is more convenient; i.e. you’re not going to be locked into a brand. It’s usually cheaper to just get them refilled if you have that available as an option nearby. Locally, I can get mine refilled at B.J.’s for either $9.99 or $10.99 (I can’t remember which it is), and I can get it refilled at a hardware store for about $14. I have 3 or 4 tanks laying around – if some idiot puts a grill out at the curb with a “free” sign on it and includes the tank, then I get that tank.

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The process only requires you to drop off your old tank and pick up a new one. Instead of finding a fresh tank of propane when you need it at your nearest hardware store, gas station, or grocery market, you’ll have to take your tank to a retail location set up for refills, during normally scheduled business hours. When you exchange, check the valve areas for blue or green residue.

Try as the majority may to fit this case into the per se category of price and output restrictions among competitors, it simply does not belong in that category. As a result, the cases and other support cited by the majority—including Catalano, Sugar Institute, and commentary addressing agreements on various elements of price—are inapposite. In fact, none of the cases cited by Commissioners Ramirez, Brill, and Wright even remotely resembles the alleged facts in this case. The lack of judicial experience with the unique conduct alleged in this case further counsels against application of the per se rule, as well as any abbreviated rule of reason treatment, for that matter.

In particular, the written request for confidential treatment that accompanies the comment must include the factual and legal basis for the request, and must identify the specific portions of the comment to be withheld from the public record. For all of these reasons, I voted in favor of issuing the Complaint and accepting the proposed Consent Agreements in this matter. One of my several concerns at the time the complaint issued was that the Walmart-as-lynchpin theory would effectively collapse into one in which the Commission was challenging the independently decided fill reduction.

Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format. Blue Rhino accepts any brand of tank, so all you have to do is drop your empty tank beside the display, have a store employee swap your tank for a full one or two, and enjoy the rest of your day. You did not purchase the tank for the purpose of reselling them to consumers. If you think you and others may have a class action claim, give us a call. Our legal team is experienced, professional, and ready to help.


Our mission is protecting spyoff vpn review and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education without unduly burdening legitimate business activity. “The results of our exhaustive review were fully consistent with the principle that consumers who purchase an AmeriGas barbecue cylinder receive everything our company promises to deliver,” he said. “We provide that amount of propane to help control the volatile cost of propane and other materials within our industry,” said Chris Hartley, vice president of marketing for Blue Rhino. But nexAir’s scales showed each of the Blue Rhino and AmeriGas cylinders ranged from 16 pounds to a little as 14 pounds. 1.15 U.S.C. 45 (authorizing the Commission to initiate an enforcement action when it has “reason to believe” a party has engaged in an unfair method of competition).

The Complaint alleges that this agreement violated Section 5 of the FTC Act by unreasonably restraining trade and constituting an unfair method of competition. The agreement alleged in the Complaint is per se unlawful. Walmart purchases tanks from both Blue Rhino and AmeriGas and initially refused to accept the planned fill reduction. Blue Rhino and AmeriGas understood they could not sustain the fill reduction unless it was accepted by Walmart. Blue Rhino’s customer Lowe’s accepted the fill reduction only on the condition that all of Blue Rhino’s other customers, including Walmart, also accept the fill reduction within a short period of time.


The second, contained in Paragraph II.B., prevents Respondents from sharing competitively sensitive non-public information with competitors except in identified circumstances. Respondents may exchange limited information needed to negotiate and fulfill the terms of refilling agreements. The proposed orders allow this information sharing because transporting exchange tanks is a significant expense and co-packing agreements may lower the cost of serving customers located farther away from filling facilities. As described in the complaint, Respondents have entered into a number of “co-packing” agreements, pursuant to which one of the Respondents processes and refills propane exchange tanks for the other Respondent at certain of their processing plants.

While overblown and unlikely, I would just refill my tank. It’s not always that easy to stand over the guys shoulder like that. For a couple bucks extra it’s worth the peace of mind to exchange imho. When the tank is full, pour the water down the side of the tank. Buy two standard 20lb tanks (Blue Rhino, AmeriGas, etc.) so you always have a full tank on hand in case you run out.

The Commission, however, obviously did not have sufficient evidence to pursue that more direct case. The Consent Agreements are for settlement purposes only and do not constitute an admission by either Respondent that it has violated the law, or that the facts alleged in the complaint, other than the jurisdictional facts, are true. The Commission believes that the terms of the proposed orders contained in the Consent Agreements will resolve the competitive issues described in the complaint. The Consent Agreements have been placed on the public record for 30 days for receipt of comments from interested members of the public.

To avoid this result, AmeriGas and Blue Rhino colluded in their negotiations with Walmart to ensure it quickly accepted the fill reductions. That collusion provides the basis for the Commission’s complaint and proposed Consent Agreements. The Federal Trade Commission (“Commission” or “FTC”) has accepted, subject to final approval, agreements containing proposed consent orders (“Consent Agreements”) resolving an administrative complaint issued by the Commission on March 27, 2014. The FTC accepted a consent agreement from Respondents AmeriGas Partners, L.P., also doing business as AmeriGas Cylinder Exchange, and UGI Corporation (collectively “AmeriGas”) and a separate consent agreement from “Blue Rhino” Respondents Ferrellgas Partners, L.P.

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