7 On Your Side takes on Able Oil

Seven On Your Side
April 2, 2010 8:41:32 PM PDT
7 On Your Side takes on a heating oil company accused of leaving some of its customers out in the cold. It's pretty simple. The customers say they paid for heating oil and got nothing in return.

"I was frustrated. I didn't know what to do, and they owe me like over 700 dollars," said George Garrison, a former Able Oil customer.

Able Oil owes George Garrison $700.

Last summer he pre-paid for oil.

But, in the dead of winter, the deliveries stopped.

Garrison's tank is only full now because he paid another company $1,000 to heat his house.

"I couldn't afford to have my house freeze up. I'm on disability so I'm on a limited income, so I mean, what am I going to do?" questioned Garrison.

Garrison contacted 7 On Your Side, after he made 4 unsuccessful attempts in person to get a promised refund at Able's Rockaway headquarters.

"I never received nothing from nobody," stated Garrison.

In February, Eyewitness News came to Able to confront the owner about owing several customers either their oil, or their money. A local firehouse was even left out in the cold. They made good on those checks and wrote refunds, but several other customers are still waiting.

"The voicemail was always overloaded, but I never got a response," said Barbara Weller, an Able Oil customer.

The Weller's tank ran dry too.

The Highland Lakes retirees also paid a premium for oil they prepaid Able at a discount to deliver.

"You realize it's over 800 dollars, almost 900 dollars, you don't know where to go," said Weller.

Eyewitness News went back to Able oil.

The company CEO Gregory Frost explained off camera,

"After media reports exposed our delivery back ups. Oil terminals stopped our credit, other oil companies wouldn't do business with us. We lost a fuel contract and the negative press crashed our phone system."

The company insisted Garrison's refund had been mailed from New York five days prior.

But, when he got the check, it was post-marked from the Rockaway office the very day we went there.

"You guys were great, you really were, you helped me out so much!" exclaimed Garrison.

The Wellers also got their check for $885!

"Absolutely, 7 On Your Side triggered them, pushed them. I don't think I was on the top of their list and I think I got bumped to the top very quickly, and I was very grateful," said Weller.