Beware Online Heating Oil Scamsters, Warns FPS

18th March 2012
Trade Association The Federation of Petroleum Suppliers (FPS) which represents over 80% of oil distribution companies in Great Britain is warning consumers to be cautious when ordering their heating oil online as they have been receiving more reports recently of consumers who have been ripped off. The FPS gives this advice to consumers about ordering fuel oil. Internet companies and comparison sites are not necessarily relevant to individual circumstances; some do not keep up to date with quotes.

It does not take long to ring round two or three distributors and get quotes yourself. And you then know which company you're speaking to, have a quote for your own circumstances and can arrange a delivery time to suit.

FPS has heard from a number of customers who say they ordered oil off some website only for it not to be delivered. If consumers want to check that they are dealing with a bona fide distributor rather than an internet agent, they can ring or email FPS or use the 'Find Your Local Distributor' facility on the federation's website.

FPS members are, in the main, small family businesses responsible for deliveries of almost all the home heating oil used in Great Britain, in addition to marine, agricultural, commercial, industrial and independent forecourt deliveries.

FPS Chief Executive, Mark Askew comments, "Supplying essential heating oil to consumers and fuel for farms etc., is the mainstay of our members' business and, because the distributor drivers know most of their customers personally, they will do their utmost to ensure that customers get a fair price and a good service.

If consumers are buying oil online they need to check a few things before ordering including:
  1. Does the website use a premium SSL certificate e.g. VeriSign or Thawte (This is not something fraudsters or scammers generally use as there is a cost to them for SSL certification)
  2. Think - does this heating oil price seem too good to be true?
  3. Do they list their company registration number and vat registration number on their website, and do they have a phone number and address? This is a legal requirement on websites. Check the company's credentials are bona fida by checking Companies House in the United Kingdom and Companies Registration Office in the Republic of Ireland.
  4. Do a quick search for reviews or complaints about the website or company - does the feedback look genuine or are they posing as customers when they are in fact the operators/creators of the website?
  5. Try to pay by credit or debit card and if you have been subject to a scam or fraud when buying heating oil online contact your card issuer immediately
  6. Remember if you are not sure over the validity of any company, contact the Federation of Petroleum Suppliers at 01565 631313 or visit
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Article Last Updated 18th March 2012
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