Last month, OilFiredUp Rural Energy News featured the plight of a young mother from Co. Armagh, who was forced to return some of her baby daughter’s Christmas presents, after her heating oil supplier pocketed her cash, but failed to deliver her oil.
Almost a month on and the good news is that after lodging a complaint with her bank, her transaction has been refunded. But despite finally being reimbursed, the young mum is now calling for greater regulation of heating oil suppliers, both locally in Northern Ireland and throughout the UK.
Speaking to OilFiredUp Rural Energy News, the Moira woman, who asked not to be named, said, “When we ordered our heating oil from Ian Martin Fuels, we paid for it using a debit card. We were concerned that since we hadn’t used a credit card, we might never see our money again. However, my husband contacted our bank and filed a disputed transaction report with them. We were delighted when we heard the dispute had been settled in our favour.
“But despite getting our money back, I’d urge anyone who depends upon heating oil to exercise caution when ordering a delivery. For instance if we had used a credit card, requesting a refund would have been more straightforward.
“Also, don’t assume that just because your heating oil supplier has been around for a number of years, there’ll still be around to deliver your oil. We’d been ordering from Ian Martin Fuels for many years and still managed to get caught out. I’ve since learnt that websites such as DueDil allow you to check out almost any company’s financial standing for free. You can then use your own discretion to determine whether or not its wise to order heating oil from almost any supplier.
“And of course, bad news travels fast. If I had checked social media before placing my order for heating oil, I would have known it was probably a bad idea to place it with Ian Martin Fuels.
“But the point remains that surely heating oil users should be provided with adequate consumer protection to provide such a situation arising in the first instance? If instead of using heating oil to heat my home, I used gas or electricity, then this situation would never have arisen. That’s why I was glad to see UKIP has taken up the issue of regulation on behalf of local heating oil users. With a general election only a matter of months away, hopefully other parties will follow suit and put heating oil regulation firmly on the political agenda – not just in Northern Ireland but right across the UK.”
The Moira woman, was one of a number of people affected after Moira, Co. Armagh based Ian Martin Fuels appeared to cease trading. One customer described the business run by 68 year old David Girvan as ‘robbing f***ers’, whilst another customer said she was ‘utterly disgusted’ with the company.
OilFiredUp Rural Energy News has previously attempted to make contact with the company, based on the Lurganville Road between Moira, Co. Armagh and Hillsborough, Co. Down, but no response was forthcoming.