Attorney General Announces Settlement With Williamsport Heating & Oil Company

Consumer settlement reached with Williamsport heating oil company accused of short deliveries; customers eligible for refunds

HARRISBURG – The Attorney General’s Office has reached a consumer protection settlement requiring a Lycoming County oil company to pay partial refunds to consumers who were allegedly charged for more home heating oil than they actually received.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said the agreement, known as a Consent Petition, resolves a lawsuit filed in May 2009 by the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection against K & S Kwik Stop Inc., 1450 East Third St., Williamsport, along with the following individuals; John Q. Beauge, 1340 Faxon Circle, Williamsport, serving as president of K & S Kwik Stop; Brett R. Foust, 50 Halltown Road, Montoursville, serving as secretary and treasurer of K & S Kwik Stop; and William A. Showers, 5083 Route 87, Williamsport, serving as an agent for Beauge and Foust in the operation of the company.

Corbett noted that the lawsuit was filed after undercover purchases in March and April 2009 indicated that the defendants were allegedly charging for more gallons of heating oil than was actually being delivered.

“Under the terms of this settlement, all consumers who received heating oil from K & S Kwik Stop are eligible for a 15% rebate for the total amount of their purchases during the 2008-2009 heating season,” Corbett said. “Eligible consumers who have been identified by the Attorney General’s Office will receive official notification letters and claims forms shortly.”

Corbett said the consumer protection settlement sets aside $10,000 for a Consumer Restitution Fund, which will be used to pay the consumer rebates. The settlement also includes a requirement that the defendants provide additional money for the restitution fund, if the total claims exceed $10,000.

Corbett said that 105 consumers, predominantly in Lycoming County, have been identified as having purchased fuel oil from K & S Kwik Stop during the 2008-2009 heating season.  Information about submitting a claim has been mailed directly to all of those consumers and should be delivered within the next week.

Consumers who do not receive a notification letter, but purchased heating oil from K & S Kwik Stop during the 2008-2009 season, are urged to contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection in order to obtain a rebate claim form and instructions, either by calling the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-441-2555 or filing an online complaint at www.attorneygeneral.gov (Click on the “Complaints” button on the front page of the website and select “Consumer Complaint Form”).

Corbett noted that all consumer claim forms must be returned to the Attorney General’s Office by November 29, 2010.  The rebates will be distributed after all claim forms have been processed and verified.

In addition to consumer restitution, the settlement also includes civil penalties and costs of $2,000 for the Office of Attorney General and civil penalties of $6,000 for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (for violations of the Consolidated Weights and Measures Act).

The consent petition was filed in Lycoming County by Deputy Attorney General J.P. McGowan of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.


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