Some customers frustrated with problems at Rymes Oil and Propane

  • The Rymes delivery truck facility and bulk plant on Route 9 in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • The Rymes delivery truck facility and bulk plant on Route 9 in Concord. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 10/5/2022 4:52:49 PM

Concord-based Rymes Oil and Propane, which was sold to a Canadian firm in 2020, appears to be having difficulty with computer and back office systems that have left some customers frustrated and unable to contact them.

“It’s not just that we can’t get them on the phone. They’re not answering their email. It’s not good if people can’t get in touch with you,” said Bruce Garry, who rode his motorcycle from Moultonborough for business in Concord and took the opportunity to stop at the company office on Sheep Davis Road. The office is closed to the public, with signs on the door attributing it to training on new systems.

“I had to pound on the door to get anybody’s attention,” said Garry. He was eventually able to talk to a representative in person and work out his problems.

Garry, who gets both oil and propane from Rymes and has been a customer for years, said he knew there were problems some time ago when he got a delivery but the driver couldn’t give him a bill. Garry said he was told the company systems weren’t working properly.

“Then I got a message that I’m late, but we haven’t gotten a bill yet!” he said. That prompted his trip to the office.

Garry added that his experience with the company had been fine until recently and that “the people are good.”

A number of comments have appeared online in the past week or so asking how to get in touch with Rymes and noting that the phones are not being answered. The Monitor reached out to the company Tuesday and talked to an official who said a response would be forthcoming.

Rymes has been in business since 1969 providing heating oil and propane to customers in New Hampshire and parts of Vermont, Maine and Massachusetts. It was family-owned until two years ago when it was purchased for $159 million by Superior Plus, a much larger Canadian fuel firm with operations in Alberta, Ontario, and parts of the Northeast U.S.

For long-term customers, the current problems are an unpleasant echo of the 2014 saga involving Fred Fuller Oil and Propane, a Hudson-based firm that left customers hanging during a severe cold snap when accounts were snarled back-office computer systems, forcing then-Gov. Maggie Hassan’s office sto step in.

The company went bankrupt and was later bought by Rymes. Its owner, Fred Fuller, was sued by sexual harassment by two employees who were awarded $2.7 million and $1 million, respectively. 

As for Garry, he guessed that part of the problem with Rymes at the moment is lack of staff, which made him sympathetic.

“Who doesn’t have a shortage of people right now?” he said.

David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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