Take precautions when purchasing firewood
December 6, 2010
As the state prepares for another cold winter, many Coloradans may turn to the use of firewood as an alternative means of heating their homes. The Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) strongly recommends purchasing firewood from a reputable dealer.
“The buyer should obtain the seller’s name and business address,” said Nick Brechun, CDA’s Measurement Standards Program Administrator. “Bulk firewood sellers in Colorado must provide a receipt with this information as well as the price, amount, and type of wood.”
When firewood is purchased in bulk, the appropriate method of sale for this commodity is by the cord or fractional cord. The amount of wood in a cord consists of a neatly stacked volume of wood that equals 128 cubic feet. For example, one cord equals a stack of wood that is 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long. Once a purchase is made, the buyer should stack their wood in the manner described above to get a good idea if they received the amount paid for.
Bundled firewood is commonly seen at grocery and convenience stores. The correct method of sale for bundles is the cubic foot. The actual amount of wood must meet the quantity declaration. Bundles must be properly labeled with net volume, wood type, and responsible party contact information. Department inspectors verify compliance at retail locations throughout Colorado.
CDA cautions consumers against the purchase of firewood advertised by the terms truckload, face cord, rick, fireplace cord or pile. These terms do not allow for the facilitation of a value comparison for the purchaser. For instance, the size of one truckload may be different than the size of the seller’s competitor. Thus the consumer would have no way of knowing which would be the better buy.
“CDA’s Inspection and Consumer Services Division has 12 inspectors statewide who investigate complaints involving misrepresentation or mislabeling of firewood,” said Brechun. “One way of helping to ensure the consumer receives what they pay for is for them to be knowledgeable about the product as well as the business they are buying from.”
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Contact the Measurement Standards office at (303) 477-4220 with questions or for help in disputes regarding the sale of firewood.