Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Heritage Propane, AmeriGas and Rinnai Oh My!

Hey all! For those who know me well know it takes a lot for me to post positive reviews. Well, guess what this is a not so positive review because I am completely irritated. So sit back and be ready to hear about my experience with the three listed above.

So back in 2012 my gas bill with Heritage Propane was horribly high and we had discovered that the hot water tank we had in our home was part of the problem. The tank ran however, it was running on borrowed time. At the time my home had increased in size with my sister and father living with us and having five kids living at home as well I needed to come up with a solution and soon. I started looking at different hot water tanks. I was looking at tankless or tank, size of tanks, warranties, all the bells and whistles. When I go to buy an appliance I will do my research.  Finally, with all the pro's and con's weighed out I decided to go with the Rinnai Tankless Water Heater Model RV53i. The reason I decided to go with this particular model was because of the warranty that I was told it would have between Rinnai and Heritage Propane and the discounts that was supposed to be  with the unit as well from a government rebate program at the time.  I was told that it had a twelve year parts and labor warranty plus a large amounts of rebates. During the installation I was reading through the manual and questioned the "warranty" because it said something different in the Rinnai manual. I was told it was through Heritage Propane and that it would be covered through Heritage Propane.  I asked about special maintenance! Again, I was told no and was reassured if there were to be any problems I just had to call the office and they would get someone to come out and take care of the problem. 

A week later I had realized that I never received the itemized bill for the purchase and what rebates that were applied as there was supposed to a few rebates we were eligible to receive with the installation of the Tankless hot water heater. I kept getting the line, we will have to get back to you on it.  A few weeks later AmeriGas took over Heritage Propane.  Now the thing is nothing changed in the office that was Heritage Propane except the store location was the name of the company. A week after it changed over to Amerigas I went in to pay my gas bill and again questioned about the itemized bill.  Same people, same office and was told sorry we do not have access to that anymore.  I asked for the corporate phone number as I was mad about the run around.  Was told they would get me the information.  Joking I remember saying what no statement I guess I don't have to pay the bill. I was told flat out rather rudely they would charge me a late charge and shut off my service. That was another thing the hot water tank was supposed to be a completely separate account in my name and they combined it in with my ex's account. One month last year we stopped getting the monthly charge for it and when I called into question a final bill and statement they said sorry you're not on the account so we are not speaking with you.  I paid for the tank but since they didn't add my name on it, they would not speak with me about the hot water tank.

Fast forward to February 8, 2019, I woke up to start my organization experiment that morning and go to start a load of laundry and there is water leaking out of the hot water tank and I had a layer of water all over my laundry room..  I call the Amerigas 1-800 phone number for the emergency service and get a woman on the line and explain what was going on.  I told her I just needed to find out how to shut the water going into the tank off because the Rinnai instructions do not give any indication on  how to do that. The lady was rude, disrespectful and apparently does not listen to a word someone says because when a local tech called me to talk me through how to shut the water off I apparently had a flood through my basement. I do not have a basement. The repair technician was great and he told me how to shut off the water and laughed because of my mysterious basement flood. He also was nice and said he would have the company contact me with the information I would need when he gets to the office.

Then I waited as it was only 6:30 in the morning and nothing opens until 8am.  A little after 9am I get a call from the AmeriGas office and they confirm when the item was installed. They said I will have to call a plumber to fix it. I said this is under warranty through the gas company do they reimburse whatever the charges are or does the water company bill Amerigas? She told us to call Charlie's Plumbing here in Spring Hill. I call Charlie's Plumbing and the first person I spoke with stated did you call Rinnai? I asked why would I do that as it's all supposed to be covered through Amerigas. He suggested I call Rinnai because if the part he thought it was, it would need authorization and then call them back and they will do a free consultation to see what is wrong with the unit. Here starts the downfall.

I called Rinnai and spoke to a very nice young lady and she said that the part would be covered if and only if the maintenance was done regularly.  I asked her what maintenance? She stated that you had to do a vinegar rinse every six months. WHAT!!! I explained I called Rinnai when we first got the unit to make sure it was registered and was told when I originally called that I had to do nothing special to the unit by both Rinnai and Heritage Propane. She explained the part that was more than likely the problem is very expensive and that it would be cheaper to replace the unit. She even went as far as to tell me a replacement unit's model number to consider because the repair is very time consuming.  She did state though that she added notes to the account and to call back if there is any problems. She also stated that Amerigas is an authorized repair service provider for the unit itself.

So I call back Amerigas. I explain everything that I had in my notes from the original purchase and what I was told by Rinnai. I have the workers' names from the office and the installation who all confirmed that it was a twelve year parts and labor guarantee. I explained that Rinnai even stated that AmeriGas could do all the repairs.  I was told flat out NO.  I stated so, then Amerigas is not going to honor, the Heritage Propane warranty? I was given a big NO. I asked if there was someone above the office staff I could speak with and was told no and very bluntly -NOTHING WILL BE DONE.

I did have the free consultation from Charlie's Plumbing and they are great people. The tech that came to my house talked to me about the issue and could not even see a leak and he had stuff running for about a 30 minutes and nothing.  I asked him about flushing the system like Rinnai had said and was told the gas would have to be shut off to the unit in order to flush it and then relit later that day. The tech was honest with me telling me unless you have done plumbing you should NOT do it on your own you could actually mess up the unit. I later confirmed this with two other plumbing companies in the Tampa Bay Area that deal with Rinnai products.  The tech who came out suggested that if I am worried about the leak I could make sure the water was shut off during times of non use.  I am doing exactly that! Because the cost of the repair is $1100 with the part and the cost of a new tank or tankless hot water heater is around $1200.

During this whole mess I keep questioning is there a solution? Well, it would have been for AmeriGas to honor the warranty that Heritage stated multiple times I had. Or for Heritage to not promise something that they had no intention of delivering on. I would not have chosen to go with Heritage Propane if it had not been for the 12 year parts and labor warranty I was promised. So be careful and buyer beware!

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