Commissioner Anne L. Head at Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation highlighted the June 30th deadline for fuel dealers to register with the state if they intend to offer pre-paid home heating contracts for the next fuel season.
She also noted that an online process is available to assist both fuel dealers and the public. The registration form and general information can be obtained from the Department’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr), or directly at www.maine.gov/pfr/hho.html.
Intended to provide greater protections to consumers who use pre-paid home heating contracts, LD 1895, An Act To Protect Consumers by Strengthening the Laws Governing Prepaid Home Heating Oil Contracts, became law in 2012.
The law responded to examples of companies taking money from Maine consumers, but then failing to supply the fuel, leaving the consumers without fuel and unable to recover their money.
The law requires a fuel dealer who offers prepaid contracts for home heating oil, kerosene or liquefied petroleum gas to Maine residents to register the dealer’s intent to offer such contracts with the Department by June 30th of each year. It also requires these dealers to file a report by October 31st each year to indicate the manner of compliance.
Additionally, the law requires that the annual report include a notice that a false statement is punishable as a Class D crime. The law provides that a violation of the requirements of Title 10, Section 1110 is a violation of the Maine Unfair Trade Practices Act.
Consumers wishing to check whether a fuel company registers by the June 30th deadline, or fuel dealers seeking additional information, can call the Department at (207) 624-8511.