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unsolicited heating oil delivery. What to do?

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by joesat78, Aug 20, 2008.

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  1. joesat78

    joesat78 New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    55
    Loc:
    Central PA
    Last April when I bought my home, I had called the previous owner's heating oil company to come and fill up my heating oil tank. When I spoke with them, I clearly told them that I don't need budget billing, automatic delivery or any other gimmicks. I also never signed any papers or contract. I paid in full for the 210 gallons they delivered.
    Today evening, I see a bill in my mail box - I went down and checked my tank and they have delivered 86 gallons for 4.85/gallon.
    I'm waiting on my Regency I2400 wood insert to take care of my winter heating (along with the remaining 125 gallons of oil in the tank) and I was hoping to run through this winter, before the oil company refilled my tank without asking for it - leaving me with a $412 bill.

    should I pay those suckers the bill or should I give them a piece of my mind? I would have rather sat at home with a winter jacket on, than pay 4:85/gallon for heating oil.

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  2. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    7,117
    Loc:
    Next to nuke plant Berwick, PA.
    I'd call them and groan. Then see if they will discount it if you agree to accept it.
    Look at it this way, even if they don't discount, you have the oil as back up, or for lazy days. whatever. And this time next year, that price will seem cheap.
    Last fill up I got was 2006 for $2.00 per gallon, which I was bitching about then, now that don't seem so bad. Of course I still have over 1/4 tank left from 2006. Burned none last year. Well fired it up a few times to make sure it still worked.
  3. jeffman3

    jeffman3 New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2007
    Messages:
    320
    Loc:
    S.W. Nebraska
    If you truly didn't ask them for the oil, then I would call and tell them that you absolutely will not pay for a product that you didn't order! More then that, I would look into what you can do about them putting a substance into your tank, that you didn't want put into your tank. How about trespass? At the very least I would talk to the county attorney about what you can do. I absolutely wouldn't pay for something I didn't want to buy! My oil guy lives at the end of the block, and would never put oil in my tank that I didn't order, and I won't be ordering. Sounds like they are taking you for a ride! I wouldn't pay them a dime!!
  4. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2008
    Messages:
    3,700
    Loc:
    CNY
    Could be a mis communication...I'd just settle up with them and make it very clear that you will call them next time.
  5. pinewoodburner

    pinewoodburner Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Messages:
    412
    Loc:
    Va.
    Unless you signed a contract or had a verbal contract, and they record these, you don't have to pay for something you did not order. If you call them, they will probably discount it or come back and get it, but they will not do business with you again if you are demanding of them. Like another said, probably a mis-comunication with in that comapany.
  6. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Peru, MA
    No contract for auto fill, no pay. Simple.
  7. mtfallsmikey

    mtfallsmikey New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
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    149
    Loc:
    Mt. Falls Va.
    Yeah...my last fill was at $2.49 / gal. Used 27 gallons last year.
  8. eba1225

    eba1225 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2007
    Messages:
    312
    Loc:
    Chester Springs, Pa
    I would call and complain, site no contract, and lean toward no paying and settle for the price you paid originally. If no movement on their end seek legal advice, usually the initial consultation is free, they would be able to give you an idea of your options.
  9. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Southern NH
    I think I would a least call them and offer a nice thank you for the free gift. Ahandwritten thank you note is always nice too. Either way you should acknowledge a random act of kindness from them.
  10. chevyjay

    chevyjay New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
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    Loc:
    Western Ma
    I wouldnt pay Tell them you want it pumped it out
  11. pdboilermaker

    pdboilermaker New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2007
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    North Central Indiana, Kokomo
    Typically, places that deliver fuel to your home do so automatically because they have a computer program that determines that you are due for a fill based on your degree day usage and the number of days since your last fill. They typically automatically come and fill you up in August for a summer fill to help you beat the winter increase. All of this is done as an automatic service for the masses that do not keep track of how much fuel they have or need.

    Imagine if you had ran out of fuel this winter, then they would have sucked, their service is lousey, you are never going to buy fuel from them again etc....

    Pay the bill, then tell them that you will call them on an as needed basis
  12. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Loc:
    Southern NH





    I agree if he was on automatic delivery but he clearly stated that he told them clearly that he did NOT want automatic delivery. this is not computer related but the person who inputed the computers incompetance. Why should he suffer for their incompetance. Therefore I disagree with you. Too many people in todays workplace are incompetant and we should send a message. Dont pay the bill but remember to send a thank you note. He should at least get a big discount or the last price he paid.
  13. Chris S

    Chris S New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
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    Loc:
    Orange County NY
    A similar issue occurred in my neighborhood, where the oil company deliverd to the wrong house. The delivery ticket said 2nd house on the left, after a few years, a new house was built on the corner, the driver moved out of state and the new driver started delivering to the wrong house. Initially the oil company offered a discount to settle up. My neighbor refused - said if I cut your lawn without you asking me to, will you still pay me? Kinda made sense.
    I thought the solution was to pay them wholesale for the oil, he was adament not to payat all.
    They went to court & the oil company won!!! for the full amount they claim they delivered at market price. I was shocked, and not saying evey small town judge would rule this way, but...
    Your first loss is your best loss, I'd try to settle the bill.
  14. ScottF

    ScottF New Member

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    Good point and example Chris. They should at least offer to give it to them at cost or wholesale and then they cover their cost and the owner gets a good deal. Everybody is now OK with this scenerio. However this story only proves one thing IMO. That we have very inept and incompetant judges. If the judge was good he would have ruled just as you suggest to pay them wholesale for the oil. Obviously you have a lot more common sense than the judge.
  15. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2008
    Messages:
    352
    Loc:
    Barre MA
    Same thing happened with me - only it wasn't fuel oil - it was a cleaning. I had bought the house 3 years previous, and had chosen to do business with the other heating company in town. The company I chose is smaller, family owned, and more of a pleasure to do business with. Plus they are right down the street from me. Anyways, I came home from work, to find a bill on my door for $150 "annual cleaning." I hadn't ordered it. When I called to find out why they came, they said "Mr. McKee called to schedule the appt last week" I said, "Well, Mr Mckee hasn't owned the house since he moved to South Carolina 3 years ago, so i doubt he called. Neither did I."

    I wrote them a letter with a check to pay for the parts, which totaled $35. I explained I wasn't going to pay for thier labor on a service I didn't even request. Never heard back from them, and they won't be hearing from me. I would have been a little more understanding if they admitted they made a mistake, but they were very bullheaded about it.
  16. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

    Joined:
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    1,428
    Loc:
    British Columbia
    Do as Hogwildz suggests. We had a propane delivery last year and the bill was $45 and $15 of it was for delivery fee, and hazordous charge,etc. I phoned and explained how ridiculous it was and they reimbursed the fifteen bucks.

    So make the phone call and also send a letter in writing that you do not want auto del, get someone to witness and sign it. Keeping one copy for yourself. Oh, and when making that phone call, be polite,but firm and see if you can`t get something knocked off the price-like maybe 10-15%. As for the oil in your tank, well, it won`t go bad like gasoline in 6 months. You will have a reserve there for years to come.
  17. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Loc:
    S/W MI
    Some fuel oil tanks have filler spouts that you can pad lock. They would have to wait for you to unlock it before they could fill. It's possible the company is trying to dump high priced oil because the price of crude is coming down and they don't want to be caught with high prices that will cost them...Cave2k
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