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Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Reminds Fuel Dealers and Consumers about October 31st Deadline in New Law Regarding Pre-Paid Contracts


October 30, 2012



Commissioner Anne L. Head from Maine’s Department of Professional and Financial Regulation issued a reminder about the October 31 annual-report filing deadline for fuel dealers who registered to offer pre-paid contracts this heating season.

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, in March. The new law responds to several recent examples of dealers failing to supply fuel, leaving the consumers without oil and unable to recover their money.

“The vast majority of fuel dealers in Maine are reputable and honest,” Commissioner Head commented. “They provide quality service and care about their customers and communities. To discourage those cases when dealers don’t meet their obligation, however, Maine law has been changed to require greater accountability.”

The new 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 how the fuel has been secured.

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 law’s 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.

“The Department was pleased to work with fuel dealers, the Attorney General’s Office, and legislators to develop a new law intended to discourage dealers from failing to meet the terms of their pre-paid contacts,” Commissioner Head added. “The Department has been working cooperatively with dealers to implement the law.”

Consumers can check on whether a fuel company registered by the June 30th deadline by visiting the Department’s homepage (www.maine.gov/pfr) or calling (207) 624-8525.