(a) Any person violating this article or any rule, order, or regulation promulgated pursuant to this article shall, on conviction thereof, be fined not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) and may also be imprisoned in the county jail or sentenced to hard labor for the county for not more than six months. Every violation of this article or any rule, order, or regulation promulgated pursuant to this article shall constitute a separate offense.
(b) Every person subject to the fees imposed by Section 9-17-106 shall keep and preserve suitable records of all liquefied petroleum gas transactions subject to fees and any other books or accounts necessary to determine the amount of fees for which the person is liable under this article. Those records shall be retained for a period of not less than three years, and shall include the name and address of the seller and buyer, date of sale or purchase, amount of gallons purchased or sold, and the amount of fees collected or paid under Section 9-17-106. The board, the board administrator, or employees of the board may inspect, review, and copy or detain any original records, notes, or documents either written or electronically transcribed that are required to be kept by this article or that relate to the selling, purchasing, storing, transporting, installing, servicing, testing, inspecting, repairing, adjusting, and calibrating of LP-gas meters, containers, tanks, or systems. Those records, notes, or documents shall be turned over to the board at a location designated by the board within 24 hours of the notice or within a reasonable time in excess of 24 hours set by the board or board administrator in cases of hardship.
(1) If any person fails to report and remit fees required in Section 9-17-106, the board shall issue a written order by registered or certified mail to the person to report and remit those fees. If the person fails or refuses to make the report and remittance within 30 days following the order, the board shall make the report based upon any information it reasonably obtains, shall assess the fees due thereon, and shall add a penalty of 25 percent of the fees due, as assessed by the board, and interest at the rate of one and one-half percent per month, or fraction thereof, from the date the fees were originally due. If a good and sufficient reason is shown for the delinquency, the board may waive or remit the 25 percent penalty or a portion thereof.
(2) Any person who reports but fails to pay the fees levied in Section 9-17-106 within the time required by this article shall pay, in addition to the fees, a penalty of 10 percent of the amount of the fees due, together with interest thereon at the rate of one and one-half percent per month or fraction thereof from the date at which the fees levied in this section became due and payable. The penalty and interest shall be assessed and collected as part of the fee. The board, for good cause shown, may waive or remit the 10 percent penalty or any portion thereof.
(3) As soon as practicable after the report is filed, the board shall examine and ascertain the proper amount of the fee as shown by the report. Any excess shall be refunded to the person who filed the report or credited on any deficiency previously due. If the amount paid is deficient, as shown by the report, the board shall immediately notify the persons of the deficiency and shall add a penalty of 10 percent of the amount due. If the deficiency is not paid within 30 days from the date of notice, interest shall accrue on the deficiency at the rate of one and one-half percent per month or fraction thereof, from the date the fee was due and shall be collected as part of the fee. The board, for good cause shown, may waive or remit the penalty or any portion thereof.
(4) When the board ascertains from examining and auditing the records of a person who collects the fee or from other information that the amount or amounts previously paid by the person for any period or periods is incorrect, the board shall compute the correct amount of fees due. If it appears that the amount paid is excessive, the excess shall be refunded or credited on any deficiency previously due by the person as required by this article. If it appears that the amount paid is deficient, the board shall notify the person, and shall demand payment. If payment is not paid within 15 days from date of demand, the board shall add a penalty of one and one-half percent per month from the date the fees, or any part thereof, becomes due. If the board finds a willful or fraudulent intent to evade the fees due, it may assess a penalty of 25 percent of the fees. The penalty shall be reviewable on appeal.
(c) When the board makes an assessment as provided in Section 9-17-106, the board shall notify the person by registered or certified mail of the amount of the assessment and shall notify the person to appear at a hearing of the board at the board office on a day named not less than 20 days from date of the notice to show cause why the assessment should not be final. The appearance may be by an agent or attorney. If no response is made on or before the date of the hearing, or if the response is not sufficient in the judgment of the board, the assessment shall be made final in the amount originally fixed or in any amount determined by the board to be correct. The board shall notify the person of the final assessment. A notice by the United States mail, addressed to the last known place of business, shall be sufficient.
Any person who has duly appeared and protested an assessment may appeal the final assessment of the board. A hearing on the appeal shall be held at a time and place designated by the board. No appeal shall lie in cases if the person has failed to appear and protest.
Any assessment made by the board shall be deemed correct, prima facie, on appeal.
(d) Liquefied petroleum gas containers may be filled only by the owner or upon the owner's authorization. The owner of a liquefied petroleum gas container is responsible for its suitability for continual service. Any person who fills or refills any LP-gas container or who, without authorization, turns any liquefied petroleum gas system on after it has been inspected, shut down, and condemned for safety violations, or operates an LP-gas motor vehicle, transport, or delivery unit that has been condemned for safety purposes or mechanical defects and red-tagged under authority of the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Board, or removes any red tag without authorization from the board administrator, or any person who authorizes an unqualified person to install or replace gas piping or install, connect, repair, or service any LP-gas equipment is guilty of a Class B misdemeanor as defined in Title 13A, and, upon conviction, shall be punished as provided by law.
(e) LP-dealers holding Class A or Class B-1 permits have special knowledge and expertise in performing installations, maintenance, repairs, adjustments, and services to liquefied petroleum gas appliances, LP-gas systems, or any component thereof. To ensure the safety of Alabama's consumers of LP-gas services, any consumer who desires to install, repair, maintain, adjust, or service any liquefied petroleum gas appliance, LP-gas systems, or any component thereof, shall notify the LP-gas dealer who regularly supplies such consumer with LP-gas of his or her intention to employ an individual other than the LP-gas dealer to perform such installation, maintenance, repair, adjustment, or service being performed. The consumer shall afford the LP-gas dealer with an opportunity to first install, repair, maintain, adjust, or service the LP-gas appliance before resorting to an individual other than his or her LP-gas dealer who regularly supplies LP-gas.
(1) In the event the consumer suffers injury, damage, or loss as a proximate consequence of a negligent installation, repair, maintenance, adjustment, or service of any LP-gas appliance, LP-gas system, or any component thereof, and such consumer has not first notified and afforded the opportunity to install, repair, maintain, adjust, or service to the LP-gas dealer who regularly supplies his or her system with LP-gas, no legal action shall be commenced against such LP-gas dealer.
(2) In the event the consumer suffers injury, damage, or loss as a proximate consequence of the consumer using his or her equipment or appliance in a manner or for a purpose other than that for which the equipment or appliance was intended, no legal action shall be commenced against his or her LP-gas dealer.
(3) All LP-gas dealers are required to document and maintain in writing all notices received from consumers for a period of not less than five years. Any LP-gas dealer who is found not to have maintained such notices in writing as required herein shall be guilty of a Class B misdemeanor.
(f) No LP-gas dealer shall be subject to any award of punitive or exemplary damages, except in those cases falling within Sections 6-5-391 and 6-5-410, except upon a showing by clear and convincing evidence of gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.