Scams exist across all types of companies, including in the heating oil delivery industry. Anyone can be a victim of a heating oil scam. Oil suppliers who scam consumers use a variety of tricks to increase their profits at the expense of their clients. Being aware of some of the most common heating oil scams and the best ways to prevent them is essential to avoid oil delivery companies that are downright unscrupulous.
Common Scams In The Heating Oil Industry
- Common Scams In The Heating Oil Industry
- 1. Mixing Waste Oil With Heating Oil
- 2. Adding Air To Home Heating Oil
- 3. Delivering Heated Fuel Oil
- 4. Using A Diversion Valve To Divert Fuel Back To The Tanker
- 5. Mechanical Meter Tampering
- How To Stay Protected From Oil Delivery Scams
- 1. Research Heating Oil Companies Before Using Them
- 2. Be Wary Of Heating Oil Offers That Sound Too Good To Be True
- 3. Check Out Heating Oil Supplier Reviews And Ask Friends For Recommendations
- 4. Find Out If The Oil Supplier Requires An Oil Delivery Contract
- 5. Be On The Lookout For Hidden Fees
- 6. Carefully Monitor Your Fuel Delivery
- 7. Look For Electronic Meters During The Fuel Delivery
- Contact The Better Home Heat Council For Your Home Heating Oil Needs
1. Mixing Waste Oil With Heating Oil
Some oil delivery companies purchase low-cost waste oil from auto repair businesses and then add this to their standard home heating oil. Clients believe that they are getting the full amount of oil that they’ve purchased, but their furnaces aren’t able to perform optimally due to the additive.
2. Adding Air To Home Heating Oil
Air can be put into the tank along with the oil. This is a scam that inflates the volume of the delivery in the short term, yet makes the meter move much faster than normal. Regulations require delivery services to use air eliminator valves. However, some oil delivery companies that are unethical and unreliable will keep this open with magnets, and without anyone being any the wiser.
3. Delivering Heated Fuel Oil
Materials expand when exposed to heat, and thus, their volume goes up. Some oil delivery companies may heat up their fuels to fill tanks up at a rapid rate and without raising any suspicions. After the liquid cools, the volume will go down, but the delivery service will already be gone.
4. Using A Diversion Valve To Divert Fuel Back To The Tanker
During an oil delivery, meters run to show the flow of oil to the oil tank from the tanker. A diversion valve, however, can be turned on to send some portion of this oil back to the tanker via pipes that are cleverly hidden.
5. Mechanical Meter Tampering
Old, outdated mechanical meters can be tampered with easily. These meters can be spun forward with a simple cordless drill. Others pump oil on tickets before actually delivering oil to scam their clients.
How To Stay Protected From Oil Delivery Scams
1. Research Heating Oil Companies Before Using Them
Unethical companies are invariably identified and shut down. These entities, however, can always reappear under new business names. Spend some time learning more about the history of fuel oil services before signing up for an oil delivery. Choose a reputable oil delivery service with a trackable history that spans numerous years to be safe.
2. Be Wary Of Heating Oil Offers That Sound Too Good To Be True
Cheats often attempt to lure new clients in by promising the lowest heating oil prices, unbeatable rebates, freebies, and other marketing tricks. You may think that these offers are saving you cash. However, you’re ultimately getting a lousy deal. These companies cut a lot of corners and still manage to rake good profits in.
3. Check Out Heating Oil Supplier Reviews And Ask Friends For Recommendations
It’s currently essential to read reviews of services and products before using them. Take advantage of the freely available feedback that’s published on various reliable platforms. Check for both negative and positive feedback to form a balanced and accurate opinion. You can also ask your neighbors and friends if they’ve used oil delivery services from specific companies. Be sure to check Google reviews, BBB ratings, and find any complaints as well.
4. Find Out If The Oil Supplier Requires An Oil Delivery Contract
For continued service, many oil delivery companies require their clients to sign oil delivery contracts. Although contracts can be great for anyone who wants to automate this process, it may not be the best choice for you.
Binding yourself to a contract with an unscrupulous and unethical oil supplier can be very frustrating indeed. Many homeowners prefer the flexibility and affordability of on-demand, no-contract deliveries that are made by preferred providers instead. If you opt to use an automatic delivery service, be sure to build a strong rapport with a service provider before making any type of contractual commitment.
5. Be On The Lookout For Hidden Fees
A reliable oil company should be transparent concerning their fees so that there aren’t any surprises when payments are due. Any hidden fee should be seen as a red flag. It means that the business isn’t readily sharing all of the information that you need to arrive at an informed purchasing decision.
6. Carefully Monitor Your Fuel Delivery
Given that you’re already aware of the most common scams used by heating oil delivery services, you’re well-capable of monitoring this process to identify any suspicious actions. Always ask questions when you have them. You have the right to get good value for what you spend.
7. Look For Electronic Meters During The Fuel Delivery
Pay attention to the meters that an oil delivery service uses. Given that old, mechanical meters can be easily tampered with, you should shop around for service providers that use modern, sealed, electronic meters that are certified by the proper authorities.
Contact The Better Home Heat Council For Your Home Heating Oil Needs
Don’t be turned off by the potential for oil delivery scams. There are a number of hard-working and honest oil companies within this industry. Use caution when choosing a new fuel oil delivery service by using the strategies mentioned above. Search for an oil provider with an excellent reputation and a long history of service, and you’ll be in excellent hands.
The Better Home Heat Council (BHHC) is committed to sharing information with homeowners about fuel oil heat, especially on subjects relating to the economical and efficient use of this resource. We additionally help people identify and resolve problems with energy-efficiency in their homes by pointing them towards effective and affordable solutions for making their living spaces more efficient. We support oil delivery services in the Lehigh Valley that provide a vast range of services, solutions, and products. Click here to locate a quality home heating oil delivery service near you. Many of the oil delivery service companies that we work with also provide consumers with free energy consultations.