Skip to main navigationSkip to News Headlines
NJ Division of Consumer Affairs
Global Navigation
Division of Consumer Affairs
The State of New Jersey Office of The Attorney General (Dept. of Law & Public Safety) The State of New Jersey NJ Home Services A to Z Departments/Agencies OAG Frequently Asked Questions
OAG Home
OAG Contact
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Division of Consumer Affairs Alerts and Recalls
Office of the Attorney General Homepage Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Consumer Affairs, Director
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs Highlights
Division of Consumer Affairs Topics in a A-Z List Format
Office of Consumer Protection (OCP)
New Jersey Bureau of Securities
Office of Weights and Measures
Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission
Alternative Dispute Resolution
Professions and Occupations List
Contact the Division of Consumer Affairs
Division of Consumer Affairs in Spanish
Division of Criminal Justice
Division on Civil Rights
Division of Gaming Enforcement
Division of Highway Traffic Safety
Division of Law
Juvenile Justice Commission
NJ Racing Commission
State Athletic Control Board
Division of NJ State Police
Victims of Crime Compensation Office
OPRA - Open Public Records Act
Download Free PDF Reader

Paula T. Dow,
Attorney General

Division of Consumer Affairs
Sharon Joyce, Acting Director

   
For Immediate Release:
March 1, 2010
For Further Information Contact:
Jeff Lamm, 973-504-6327
 


Attorney General Files Suit Against Oil Heating Company

NEWARK – Attorney General Paula T. Dow and the Division of Consumer Affairs have filed suit against an oil company after it failed to deliver heating oil to residential and commercial customers throughout northern New Jersey.

The state’s two-count Complaint, filed in State Superior Court in Morris County, alleges that Able Oil Co. of Rockaway and its corporate parent, Able Energy, Inc. (“Able”) violated the state’s Consumer Fraud Act in failing to fulfill the contracts it had with customers. The customers either pre-paid for oil to be delivered to their residences or businesses throughout the winter or had entered into a monthly payment plan for oil deliveries.

“Able’s customers were left to fend for themselves, and make their own arrangements to obtain heating oil and keep their families warm, when the company abruptly stopped making deliveries,” Attorney General Dow said. “These customers were literally left out in the cold, during one of the snowiest and coldest winters on record.”

The state’s lawsuit seeks restitution for affected consumers, plus the assessment of civil penalties, attorneys’ fees and costs against the defendants. An initial violation of the Consumer Fraud Act carries a civil penalty of up to $10,000, with additional violations assessed at up to $20,000.

The Division of Consumer Affairs has received more than 60 consumer complaints to date against Able. All of the complaints were received since February 1, after Able failed to make oil deliveries and also failed to respond to calls from its customers.

“These defendants put their customer’s health and safety at risk,” said Sharon Joyce, Acting Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs. “Each winter, we hear of the consequences of vulnerable New Jersey residents using propane and kerosene heaters, and even charcoal grills, inside their homes as they attempt to keep warm.”

The state alleges that Able violated the Consumer Fraud Act by committing unconscionable commercial practices and by making false promises or misrepresentations, which include the following:

  • Failing to deliver the contracted-for heating oil to Budget Plan Consumers (i.e. no delivery or inadequate delivery), yet continuing to charge their credit cards or electronically debit their bank accounts for the monthly installment payments;
  • Failing to deliver the contracted for heating oil to Pre-Purchase Consumers (i.e. no delivery or inadequate delivery);
  • Making minimal deliveries of heating oil (i.e. 20 gallons), then failing to make any further deliveries;
  • Failing to provide Budget Plan Consumers and Pre-Purchase Consumers who were enrolled in the Automatic Delivery Program with an automatic delivery of heating oil;
  • Failing to deliver heating oil to Budget Plan Consumers and Pre-Purchase Consumers, which resulted in damage to their heating systems;
  • Failing to provide emergency and/or other service and repairs to consumers’ heating systems, in accordance with the terms of their Service Agreements;
  • Failing to provide contracted-for heating oil, thus requiring consumers to purchase oil from other fuel companies;
  • Representing that consumers enrolled in the Automatic Delivery Program, including Budget Plan Consumers and Pre-Purchase Consumers will receive automatic deliveries of heating oil, when such is not the case; and
  • Misrepresenting to consumers who ran out of heating oil that a delivery would be made.

Consumers can file complaints with the Division online at http://www.nj.gov/oag/ca/ocp/ocpform.htm or by calling 1-800-242-5846 (toll-free within N.J.) or 973-504-6200.

Deputy Attorneys General Alina Wells and Lorraine K. Rak, Chief of the Consumer Fraud Prosecution Section, are representing the state in this action.

Able Oil Complaint

###

   
Contact Us | Privacy Notice | Legal Statement | Accessibility Statement
NJ Home Logo
Divisional: DCA Home | Complaint Forms | Proposals | Adoptions | Contact DCA
Departmental: OAG Home | Contact OAG | About OAG | OAG News | OAG FAQs
Statewide: NJ Home | Services A to Z | Departments/Agencies | FAQs
Copyright © State of New Jersey
This page is maintained by DCA. Comments/Questions: email

Page last modified: