Oil company keeping customers in cold

They paid for heating oil but they’re still shivering. They say a local oil company took their money and never delivered it. Hank tracked down the owner to find out why customers say he’s leaving them out in the cold.

It was the middle of winter–and this man's house in Leicester was so cold–he and his family had to wear coats inside! Their oil tank was empty–and they were boiling mad.

Victim: "You get frustrated! You get angry!"

He doesn't want to be identified– but told me his family paid $500 in advance for heating oil. Their check was cashed and it cleared! But they say oil was not delivered!

Victim : "And it was really miserable."

He was so miserable–he called the local police to turn up the heat.

Chief Michael Hassett, Oxford Police: "Yes, we are investigating it, because it appears there's a situation going on which could be criminal."

This woman–who also doesn't want to be on camera–told me she paid the same company– Action Oil of Oxford– $3400 in advance for this winter's oil delivery. She came home one night–to find her furnace off–because her oil tank was empty! When she complained–she says the company STILL didn't deliver! Instead she says the owner cancelled her contract–and kept her money!

Victim: "I want my money back! I NEED my money back."

She called the Better Business Bureau–who told me–they've had more than 20 complaints about the company.

Nancy Cahalen, BBB Worcester: "This is disturbing. We've had some complaints that say: help me, I have no money left to buy oil from another supplier, help me get this oil!"

We tracked down owner George Papageorge–to find out why outraged customers say he's left them out in the cold.

Hank: You have to admit you're not making good on your promises to deliver the oil.

George Papageorge, Action Oil: "I do agree, that I'm not making good on it. No."

But Papageorge told me he has so many customers–he has to juggle them by giving each one a little oil at a time.

Hank: “Do your customers know that's how it works? They expect their oil tank to be filled.”

George Papageorge, Action Oil: "I know that the expectation is such, but the world is full of expectation."

But these ex-customers were expecting refunds! And we found Papageorge next–in the local courthouse! Ordered to show up for magistrates hearings. Those hearings are private, but this victim–who was there–told us the magistrate "strongly suggested" he pay her back in thirty days. And in this man's case– this court record shows the magistrate found probable cause Papageorge had committed larceny over 250 dollars–and he was ordered to pay restitution!

So far–we know he's paid one of those ex-customers back. We've also learned the attorney general's office is now looking into this. Officials there tell me–they want to hear from anyone who's having oil delivery problems–with Action, or any other oil company.

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