Commissioner Anne L. Head from Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation highlighted the June 30th deadline for fuel dealers who offer pre-paid contracts to register with the Department. The registration form and general information can be obtained from the Department’s website (www.maine.gov/pfr).
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 Public Law, Chapter 574, on March 30, 2012.
The law responded to several recent examples of dealers taking money from Maine consumers, but then failing to supply the fuel, leaving the consumers without oil and unable to recover their money.
“The vast majority of fuel dealers in Maine are reputable and dependable,” Commissioner Head said. “To discourage cases in which dealers don’t meet their obligation, however, Maine law has been changed to require greater accountability. The Department is working cooperatively with dealers as we seek to provide more protection for consumers.”
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 with the agency by October 31st each year to indicate the manner of compliance.
Additionally, the law requires that the annual report form include a notice that a false statement is punishable as a Class D crime. Under the laws provisions, the Commissioner is required to refer to the Attorney General any registered dealer who fails to provide the required report or who makes a false statement on the required report. 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) 624-8525.
June 12, 2013
Professional and Financial Regulation