The state of Connecticut is suing a wood pellet dealer for accepting payments from customers for thousands of tons of wood pellets orders that could not be filled.
The lawsuit, filed by Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in coordination with the Department of Consumer Protection, names New England Pellet, LLC of Enfield and co-owners Stephen Zaczynski and Jason Tynan.
Blumenthal said the company took advance payments from customers beginning in early March until at least the second week of October but never delivered wood pellets as promised.
“It burned those consumers financially, left them out in the cold without the product they need to heat their homes during the coldest months,” said Blumenthal.
The attorney general said his office has received more than two dozen calls from customers that paid the money up front, but never received any goods. A follow up investigation determined that New England Pellet violated both the law and the public trust.
“Even as it was committing to provide this fuel and even as it was taking consumers’ hard earned money, it knew it couldn’t deliver the product,” said Blumenthal.
The company admitted that in May it needed between 10,000 and 15,000 tons of wood pellets, but their wholesaler, New England Wood Pellet of New Hampshire, said that it may only be able to supply one half that amount. By June, that amount dropped to one quarter of New England Pellet’s outstanding delivery obligations.
According to their website, New England Pellet is still taking orders, but when customers call the number listed, all they get is a recording.
It states: “we are working with the attorney and our only supplier to resolve this matter to everyone’s satisfaction. We are currently out of pellets, therefore, deliveries and pickups have been delayed.”
Blumenthal said his office will fight for a court order blocking New England Pellet from further consumer harm, as well as civil penalties and restitution for customers.