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Press Releases

02/24/2011

Don’t Get Burned by Bogus Online Firewood

HARTFORD, February 24 -- As heating fuel prices rise, demand keeps growing for firewood and consumers are turning to various sources -- including internet advertising services like Craigslist, Backpage, and BeatYourPrice -- to look for options. But this season’s complaints to the Department of Consumer Protection indicate that some firewood vendors using free advertising sources may promise more than they'll deliver.

"We're cautioning consumers to take extra care when responding to classified advertising where the sellers' personal identification is often quite limited,” Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said today.“Consumers need to take steps to ensure that they’re dealing with a reliable firewood dealer and not a fly-by-night."

The Department has been hearing from consumers whose online wood purchases have been problematic; they’ve received scrap or unseasoned wood and short loads. Sometimes only cash is accepted, no receipt is given, and aside from the online listing, buyers have no way to reach the seller once the wood has been delivered.
 
“Paying by cash gives buyers little recourse if there is a problem with delivery or with the wood itself,” Rubenstein said. “Before payment, buyers should confirm that amount and quality of the wood," Rubenstein said. "If the load is short, consumers should withhold a portion of their payment until the full amount is delivered."
 
Here are more tips to buy firewood without being burned.
  • Make sure the length you're ordering will fit your stove or fireplace.  The standard length for firewood is 16 inches, but some larger wood-burning stoves can take wood as large as 20 inches or more.
  • Seasoned firewood, which has been stacked and dried for at least six months or more, is what you need to buy for this year. Costs are ranging between $220 and $300 a cord, depending on the type of wood and area of the state.
  • Buy wood only by the cord or half-cord, not by the truckload, so you can be sure you get your money's worth. A cord of wood measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and totals 128 cubic feet. A half-cord is 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 4 feet long for a total of 64 cubic feet.
  • Have your firewood stacked when delivered, so you can measure it and be sure you got the amount you paid for. This may cost a bit extra, but is worth it.
  • Get a signed and dated receipt for your firewood. It should include the name, address and phone number of the business, the name of the business owner, the amount of wood delivered and the amount you paid.
  • If you have any problems or concerns, please call the Department of Consumer Protection at 1-800-842-2649 or send an email complaint to food.standards@ct.gov.

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