I FINALLY took the bottles I bought from an old welder to a different supplier yesterday. One is a waist high acetylene, about half full, the other, a big 02 with 400# pressure in it. I told the guy that I didn't like the other supplier, as he would not make any adjustment on these bottles I had bought from the owner. The O2 is from a company that has since been out of business, but there WAS a forging on the collar. So, technically, it was and is a cylinder that belonged to that company, or whatever company bought them. But the seller was an honest old guy, and he told me that he owned the cylinders, and I believe him. If it had been a lease, I'm sure that he would have been contacted years and years ago about returning the bottle, and no company is going to just let it go for 19 years, especially when the man lives in the same community.
He gave me two stickers to put on the bottles, otherwise, they have to treat the contents as "unknown", and do a purge and take off the valve and all sorts of things. He said to GRIND OFF the name on the collar, and do it in a very good way making it invisible, and paint the tank green. The tank has last been hydroed in '91. He said hydro would be $18, and fill about $30.
I asked him why the other company wouldn't do it, and he just looked at me and said, "We like to keep customers and make new ones. We get a lot of people from them." He said that they get about two or three of these old cylinders a year.
I bought a box of rods, some lenses, some gloves, and stuff I already had, spending about a Franklin. I thanked him, and told him that he had my future business. I spent over $3k with the other fellers last year. I am going to send them a letter and explain that I will not be doing business with them any more, and why.
I understand and agree that there are laws, common sense, and just plain honesty involved in these bottles. But in this situation, I have no reservation about doing this. I now lease one bottle, and that will be going back to the offending company at the end of the lease, as it is paid in advance now for another three years or so.
Sometimes, it helps to be just a LITTLE flexible. Especially if it is a customer with an account and a sales history.