Connecticut Attorney General's Office

Press Release

Attorney General Submits Settlement Providing $1 Million For F&S Oil Customers

December 21, 2009

Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has submitted to the court a proposed settlement providing about $1 million in restitution to F&S Oil Co. customers owed heating oil or money after the company collapsed in March 2008.

The settlement was reached in cooperation with Department of Consumer Protection (DCP).

Superior Court Judge Grant Miller will consider the plan at a hearing Wednesday in Hartford Superior Court.

Blumenthal's office has received complaints from more than 2,500 F&S Oil customers who lost money when the company folded in March 2008. They include consumers with prepaid and flat rate contracts. A claims administrator and the Attorney General's Office will determine how much each receives.

Blumenthal said, "This agreement pays $1 million in restitution -- money back for undelivered oil or services -- to consumers F& S Oil literally left out in the cold. Residential customers burned by prepaid or flat rate contracts will receive first preference, recovering hard-earned cash paid for vital heating oil. This settlement is well-deserved and welcome -- hopefully in time to help pay this winter's heating bill.

"Scarce assets were a huge hurdle in our tough fight for restitution, but this result assures some relief. This case sends a powerful message: heating oil companies must fulfill their commitments to consumers and adhere to the law. I will continue turning up the heat on oil companies that fail to follow state statutes, requiring them to secure supply.

"I urge consumers to carefully consider how they buy oil, thinking long and hard before pre-paying. The promise of marginally lower prices may not be worth the risk -- and could lead to financial flame out," Blumenthal said.

Assuming the judge approves the agreement, the more than 2,500 F&S customers who filed complaints with Blumenthal's office will be mailed paperwork with their claim amounts already filled in. They will only have to sign the claims and return them for consideration.

Other consumers who also may be eligible to receive payments from the fund, but who have not yet submitted complaints, will also receive claim forms which they may submit for consideration.

If the settlement is approved, Blumenthal hopes that consumers and creditors will receive restitution later this winter.