Regarding a propane tank pick-up, do I have to pay them their arbitrary and retaliatory pick-up fee?

I recently switched propane companies and had the old company come pick up the tank that I leased from it. Today, I received an invoice for $250 plus tax for the pick-up. Buried in the contract, which is for 1 year, it says they have the right to charge for pick-up or delivery of the tank. They have a

Asked on October 2, 2017 under Business Law, Minnesota

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Clearly, they are allowed to chare you a fee: whether it was "buried" in the contract or not, if the contract stated they could charge for pick up or delivery, they may do so. (The law requires you to read the entirety of any agreement you sign and holds you to *all* the terms in it.) If the price is not specified, you could refuse to pay, let them sue you, and then they'd have to prove in court by a "preponderance of the evidence" (that it is more likely than not) that the fee they are charging is considered reasonable in the industry (e.g is more-or-less what other companies in your area charge for the same service). If they can't show that in court, all they could get would be whatever they an establish is the reasonable or accepted fee. However, paying the extra $150 (since you are wiling to pay $100, the additional amount over that is $150) may be a better choice than going through the time and inconvenience of litigation.


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