Heating oil company to pay $100,000 for alleged overcharges

Hom heating oil deliveryA Connecticut heating oil company has agreed to reimburse consumers up to $100,000 after the state's department of consumer protection accused it of engaging in unfair billing practices during the 2008-2009 billing season.

Based on more than 40 consumer complaints, Phoenix Oil, LLC of Stonington, Conn., allegedly deceived its customers by failing to bring down prices when the market for heating oil went lower. Despite contractual obligations that required the company to adjust rates when the price of oil did drop that season, it continued to bill at the higher cap price.

In addition, customers of the 2008-2009 season who did not receive all of the heating oil for which they were billed under a fixed-price contract will also be compensated for any balance due in either cash or oil.

Phoenix Oil has admitted no wrongdoing, although it has promised pro-rated restitution for all consumers affected by the alleged overcharges and improper billing. It has voluntarily complied with the allegations in order to avoid protracted legal proceedings and litigation, said Claudette Carveth, a spokeswoman for the state DCP.

The settlement will be distributed among 535 consumers.
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