propane tank removal

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Barbara Brown

Aug 7, 2022, 2:05:36 AM8/7/22
I bought a home that had a propane tank on the property. I hired the company that owned the tank to provide my propane, but that company provided poor service. After a couple of years I decided to switch companies. The first company was not happy about this. I repeatedly asked them to remove the tank, and they left it for about six months after I notified them. Finally I wrote a letter saying if they did not remove it I would consider it abandoned and would sell it. Shortly thereafter they came to pick it up. Now they are claiming that the tank was missing a part called a pigtail and they are charging me over $100 for it. I am unaware of whether the tank had that part or not, but I suspect based on their behavior that they are angry that I changed companies and just want to make me pay.

Question: Am I responsible for an allegedly missing part on their tank if it was left on my property for six months after I stopped service? Please advise.
Thank you,

Barry Gold

Aug 7, 2022, 2:59:40 PM8/7/22
Ther are two questions of fact here:

1. Whose fault is the missing pigtail? Did you remove it thinking it was
junk? If so, you are at fault and would have to pay for it.

2. How long was a "reasonable period" for them to remove the tank. And,
related, when did you first ask them to remove the tank. If they waited
an unreasonably long time, then any damage(*) is their fault for not
removing the tank within a reasonable amount of time.

If it were me, I guess I'd offer to settle for $25 or 50. That way they
get something for the missing part. If they go to court, they'll have to
pay a filing fee (usually around $50) and pay somebody to serve you with
the papers (another $50-150). And they might lose in court, so then
they'd have paid $100 or more, plus spent time in court, and end up with

Also, the $100 they're asking for is probably the price of a new
pigtail. But the pigtail wasn't new: it had been sitting out -- probably
exposed to weather etc. -- for (by your description) at least 2-1/2
years. SO there's "depreciation".

And of course, if they sue, you'll have to appear, which will mean time
away from work or whatever you do during the day, so you also have a
reason to pay something to make it go away. And if they win, you'll also
have to pay for the cost of filing the lawsuit and serving the papers.

I'd make the offer in writing, and keep a copy of the letter. If it goes
to court and and they are awarded less than you offered (you can enter
your copy of the letter into evidence), then you don't have to pay the
filing fee and cost of serving the papers.

So both sides have an incentive to "settle out of court". Which is the
way it should be -- a lawsuit should be a last resort.

NOTE: I am not a lawyer. I don't even play one on TV. But I might enjoy
playing Leland McKenzie of "LA Law". Crusty old guy who knows what he's
doing. (Arnie Becker would be fun, but I'm not tall enough or smooth
enough to play him.) I wouldn't want to play ANYBODY on "Suits" or "The
Practice" or "Boston Legal". Disgusting people.

(*) Assuming that you are not at fault in question 1.

I do so have a memory. It's backed up on DVD... somewhere...

Stuart O. Bronstein

Aug 8, 2022, 3:09:14 PM8/8/22
Barry Gold <> wrote in
You may not be a lawyer, but this lawyer thinks that you have given
excellent advice. And uncharacteristically I have nothing to add.


Barry Gold

Aug 8, 2022, 3:46:26 PM8/8/22
I am pleased when an actual lawyer approves of my legal reasoning. I did
read through a book on Business Law (from a course which my father took
at a local 2-year college aimed at small businessmen, a category which
included my father).

Barbara Brown

Aug 8, 2022, 7:09:57 PM8/8/22
Thank you Barry for your excellent advice. I really appreciate your taking the time to help me. It all makes sense to me. I bet you could play an attorney on TV!
Best wishes,

Barbara Brown

Aug 8, 2022, 7:11:45 PM8/8/22
Hi Stuart,
Thank you for endorsing Barry's advice. It's helpful to hear your expertise as well. I truly appreciate it.
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