Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

industry practices

mrblint Member Posts: 13
I have a question about industry practices rather than a technical question. Hope its OK. My oil supplier is acting like I'm an idiot for not understanding their "minimum delivery policy". But it strikes me as lunacy.

My tank gauge is old, and sometimes unreliable, so I wasn't sure how much room there was. So I placed an order for oil and was quoted a price assuming an order of 150 gallons. I gave them a credit card over the phone for the amount quoted for 150 gallons.

But it turns out that there was only room for 135 gallons in the tank. I figured, OK, I have to "eat" the cost of those 15 gallons. I committed to buy 150 gallons. I paid for 150 gallons. I can't complain. But then they sent me a revised bill, at a higher price per gallon, citing a "minimum delivery policy".

Is this standard in the home heating oil industry? Is the price based not on a minimum purchase commitment but on the actual amount delivered?


  • Brewbeer
    Brewbeer Member Posts: 616
    Did you pay more for 135 gallons than you would have paid for 150?
    Hydronics inspired homeowner with self-designed high efficiency low temperature baseboard system and professionally installed mod-con boiler with indirect DHW. My system design thread: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/154385
    System Photo: https://us.v-cdn.net/5021738/uploads/FileUpload/79/451e1f19a1e5b345e0951fbe1ff6ca.jpg
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,309
    I'm not in the business but from my POV they are trying to control labor costs by upping the average number of gallons delivered.

    My oil gauge stopped working a decade before I switched to gas and what I did was to install an elapsed time meter on my oil gun so I could monitor the run time. After a couple of deliveries I knew when to call for oil (my guy wanted a minimum of 100 gallons) and I was never off by more than a couple of gallons.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,186
    Might be time to shop around & see what else you can find.
  • Aaron_in_Maine
    Aaron_in_Maine Member Posts: 315
    Most here require 100 gallons minimum less then that and they hit you with a delivery charge.
    Aaron Hamilton Heating
    [email protected] yahoo.com
    j a_2
  • mrblint
    mrblint Member Posts: 13
    Thanks for the replies. To Aaron: do they require PURCHASE of the minimum or DELIVERY of the minimum? I can understand requiring a minimum purchase. That's a reasonable practice. It's charging a surcharge when the full amount purchased won't fit into the tank that strikes me as odd.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,451
    That is the main advantage of oil, if you don't like your supplier, get another one!
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • 776v63
    776v63 Member Posts: 61
    edited December 2015
    In my experience working for a fairly large heating fuel company, if a customer has a complaint regarding billing, the office will usually do what it takes to make the customer happy, within reason.

    I would ask to speak with the manager, and let them know you are willing to pay for the 150 gallons. If they don't accept this offer, tell them you are going to stop buying product from them. 9 times out of 10 they will accommodate you.

    FWIW, in my company, delivery drivers are paid based on how many gallons they deliver. So when a driver delivers 10 gallons to a customer, It is not only a waste to the company, but also to the driver who could have used that time to deliver to a customer who needed more gallons.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,186
    Indeed. I often feel obligated to give someone the opportunity to make it right, but I don't threaten. If they make it right, I will consider staying, if not...

    I also will not forget. Ever. And will complain like a little girl given any opportunity. ;)

  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    Most companies in my area require a minimum delivery (not purchase) of 100 gallons. If you dont need this they generally tack on a surcharge. I honestly dont know of a company that does not due this. Some companies I am learning have other "fee's" that are added into each and every delivery...pay's to check your delivery slip from time to time..
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,023
    I would not pay more than the price for the 150 gallons that you were quoted for. Call them and complain. If they don't make it right----switch!!
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,309
    I used the same will call oil supplier for several years before I switched to gas. They had a 100 gallon minimum and i undershot that a few times by a few gallons (never more than 10) before I put a time meter on my oil gun and they never tried to charge me for not meeting their minimum.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I say lose them losers. We have a 100 gallon minimum, but if it fills at 90, that is all you will pay for at the same price per gallon. I would request a refund