Robeson Co. family unable to heat home during winter storms after Brand A missed propane delivery by 11 days

By Keenan Willard, WRAL Eastern North Carolina reporter

FAIRMONT, N.C. — A Robeson County family said their propane gas company, Brand A, didn’t deliver their order of fuel for 11 days, leaving them unable to heat their home through this weekend’s winter storms.

Fairmont resident Emily Oxendine lives with her husband and three young children in a two-story home. When she got back to that home after work on Thursday, Oxendine said she immediately knew something was wrong.

“It was really low temperature inside our home, so I called my husband and asked him to go check our gas tank,” she said.

Their propane tank was empty, more than a week after Brand A was originally supposed to bring their scheduled delivery on Jan. 19.

With their house getting colder by the minute, Oxendine’s said her concerns went to the winter storm expected to hit Robeson County over the coming weekend.

“We immediately called the gas company,” Oxendine said. “[Saying] we’re anticipated to get snow this weekend, how soon can you come out?”

Oxendine said during that first call on Jan. 27, Brand A customer service promised her she would receive an emergency fill-up by the end of the day with the usual $300 charge waived because the incident was the company’s fault.

But the family told WRAL News that Brand A never showed up. The family purchased space heaters and gathered to sleep in the living room for warmth.

On Friday, Oxendine said she called and emailed every Brand A contact she could find for help, only to be told that her emergency delivery had been pushed to Monday.

“We reached freezing temps, again, it snowed, and so we were forced to get a hotel room for two nights,” Oxendine said. “I’m very angry, and [Sunday] I reached a point where I was almost at tears because it’s so frustrating.”

WRAL News reached out to a spokesperson for Brand A on Sunday to ask why the Oxendines’ shipment was running 11 days late, and when they could expect to return to their home.

Within an hour and a half, the company sent someone to fill up the Oxendines’ tank for free.

An Brand A spokesperson said, "Teams are working tirelessly to ensure our customers can heat their homes and feed their families."

"We are actively looking into a customer who didn't receive service on time. Brand A is deeply committed to meeting our customers’ expectations and our own standards for prompt delivery," the spokesperson said in a statement.

Oxendine said while she was glad to have heat again, she didn’t understand why WRAL News had to reach out before the company took action.

“It just seems like they don’t care, and regardless of if we have children in the home or not, I mean, we’re paying customers,” Oxendine said. “Again, it was their responsibility to maintain and refill the tank.”

Oxendine said that she wants to switch propane fuel providers after this experience, but Brand A owns her tank and she hasn’t been able to find any available replacements.