Monday, January 16, 2012

Updated Jan 2012: Firewood complaint season

It happens around this time every year -- people complaining that they've been ripped off by shady firewood vendors on Kijiji. Ordinarily I would flippantly remind you to take the usual Kijiji scam precautions, but this particular industry requires special caution.

For reference, please see our previous posts on this subject: KijijiSuck 105: Firewood vendor tries to out-crazy disgruntled clients, KijijiSuck 122: Zany firewood vendor just won't quit, and Firewood vendors under fire again on Kijiji

As someone with electric heating, I don't have personal experience with this, but I've observed some recurring complaints about firewood vendors found on Kijiji. As usual, it's not a Kijiji problem per se. It's a scummy-business-owner or uninformed-consumer problem.

An ad posted on Kijiji Halifax yesterday (and since rightly removed, since it was a complaint more than an ad), summed up one shopper's requests, which seem wise:
1) You must not be on file at the Better Business Bureau (with unresolved complaints).
To check whether you are on file at the BBB, go to; http://maritimeprovinces.bbb.org/consumers/. Simply search your company name or telephone number (with area code).

2) Must deliver legal cord as in accordance with standards set by Measurement Canada.
If not sure what legal cord is, please go to http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/mc-mc.nsf/eng/lm03963.html.

3) As recommended by the POLICE: I will not pay prior to offload or sign any document until I am sure the quantity is what I am paying for.

4) You must provide me a receipt with a true address as recommended by the BBB, POLICE and MEASUREMENT CANADA.

5) I prefer a registered company or supplier with good references; Not one with several different unregistered names and different telephone numbers.
A discussion on the Kijiji Forums recently focused on a company operating as "Frank's Firewood" and, it appears, several *other* names.

User "TBF" wrote:
I recently ordered 2 cords of Firewood from supplier here on Kijiji. The ad is still posted and renewed regularly.

I guess I should have folded when the $200/cord posted price went immediately to $235.00/cord. Anyways, I fell for the upsale and ordered the 2 cords.

The firewood was delivered on the night of December 19th in a high sided tandem truck and dumped in my driveway (as per my instructions). The company named on this receipt was different from the name here on Kijiji.

The driver would not dump the load until I paid him $470 cash and signed a document. (Somewhat understandable I guess to protect against a customer not paying)

When I packed up this firewood, my 2 cords was actually only 1.09 cords. (based on cord being 4'x4'x8'=128cu ft.Note: simple online calculator; http://burtini.ca/metrology/calc_fire.html)

I Googled firewood complaints and found an Access Nova Scotia page; http://gov.ns.ca/snsmr/access/individuals/consumer-awareness/consumer-purchases/firewood-vendor-disputes.asp

Following this page's advice I have made several attempts to contact the supplier however he does not answer his phone or simply hangs up. I have made over 20 calls so far. I have also replied to his ad on Kijiji. Not sure what my next steps are...other than small claims court.

I have been buying my firewood for past 5 years here in Nova Scotia. I have never had a problem with quantity, until this year.

I have learned a valuable lesson in all this...stick to the registered wood suppliers or someone referred by someone you know. Link to Nova Scotia registered wood suppliers; http://gov.ns.ca/snsmr/access/individuals/consumer-awareness/consumer-purchases/vendor-list.asp

I am not sure if I can name the vendor here so...if you want to avoid my experience, email me and I will provide this company's details. My email is tbflynn@accesswave.ca.

UPDATE: A company who identified themselves as "ffw" just called me at 4:00pm asking if I wanted firewood delivered. When I asked if he was also named the vendor that I used, he said "Yes". We are now at 3 different company names!!! He says he delivers by the "BINS" and his bins holds 100 cubic feet. He then offered to come by and show me the "BINS" if I would pay for his time! I told him I wasn't interested in his BINS, just wanted my proper order of firewood or money back. He started cursing and swearing and told me I didn't want him to prove it. He called me &$$#@!# and hung up!

I have made a complaint to the Better Business Bureau. The BBB web address is; http://maritimeprovinces.bbb.org/find-business-reviews/. This site has a neat search feature allowing you to check whether the business is accredited or if they have a complaint registered against a particular business. You can even check by searching the telephone number of the vendor. I have since done this and quickly discovered that one telephone number, that is currently listed there on Kijiji, has 9 complaints registered against them so far...This vendor name is associated with the name of the vendor that I dealt with as well.

BUYERS BEWARE!!! THIS GUY HAS SEVERAL DIFFERENT NAMES LISTED ON KIJIJI. I KNOW 4 DIFFERENT NAMES SO FAR, 3 OF WHICH ARE STILL LISTED HERE ON KIJIJI!!!!.
User fwood, self-identifying as Frank's Firewood, continued the trend established in previous years by previously-blogged-about firewood nutcases:
You think that every complaint 9 in about 9 years ,and because there is a complaint against a person that they are guilty as charged ? Well I don`t play the game to give in & give wood free that I don`t owe to LYING SCUM TO HAVE A NO COMPLAINT RECORD ! & actually is a very good record to have only 9 in this time with all the lying scum bags like you !
Further more I NEVER USE BBB STAMP OF APPROVAL TO BUY OR OBTAIN SERVICES I don`t BELIEVE IN BBB stamp of approval OR NOT & see the BBB as a one sided non fair goverment controlled witch trial affair !
So, user BigAssSuperstar summed up the thread with a sarcastic reverse-psychology advice piece that bears repeating here:
Hey, vendors! If you want to develop a successful, long-term firewood company (that is, one-time customers and lots of profit for you), here's how:

- Advertise yourself under several different names. Undercut yourself if necessary.
- Be prepared to change your phone number. To avoid confusion when answering the phone, just answer "firewood".
- Always deliver in high-sided vehicles to prevent the mark from peeking inside to see if you've arrived with the right amount of wood
- Demand payment up front
- Heck, demand *extra* payment up front
- Having a letterhead is okay, but for heaven's sake, don't put an address on it! They can send process servers after you
- Never defend; always attack
- If someone is upset with your tactics, it is always THEIR FAULT. Customers, by nature, are CRAZY SCUMBAGS. Treat them as such.
- Don't be afraid of the BBB. They can't do anything. Besides, with all the names you'll be using, the listings won't matter anyway
- Make it clear that you won't debate CRAZY SCUMBAGS through phony outfits like the BBB; pretend like you'd rather deal with something rational and sane, like a court
- Avoid court at all costs
- Move if you have to
- You won't have to move, because it's easier just not to give a real address or deal with people on the phone
- CRAZY SCUMBAGS
- Deny, deny, deny
- See attached document, "Everyone's out to get you because you've never done anything wrong; Besides, even if you did something wrong, it's the other guy's fault for being stupid enough to fall for it: A con artist's guide to maintaining self-esteem"
To sum up: Do your homework before buying firewood. Know what you're supposed to be buying. Don't fall for strong-arm tactics. If you want to complain, complain to the right people. Be aware of what the usual firewood scams are so you can watch out for them in advance. If your vendor won't give you a physical address and proper documentation, back away.

If you still have a complaint, check out what the Province of Nova Scotia advises about complaints against firewood vendors.

Comments on this post are welcome, but take care not to libel anyone. I don't need the headache.
---
UPDATED 1/21/2012:

While browsing Kijiji tonight, I saw a "Call Frank" firewood ad. "Frank" lists his phone number as 902-401-5198.

A Google search on that number turns up ADG Firewood Services, listed at 1305 Cooks Brook, Musquodoboit, NS B0N 1Y0. Better Business Bureau (BBB) gives ADG an "F" rating, and has an alert posted. "On at least one occasion, BBB sent mail to this company in an attempt to develop a report. The mail was returned by the Post Office; therefore a complete BBB report at this time is unavailable," says the BBB, which is soliciting tips from the public to help follow up on complaints filed over Frank's/Frankies/Franks Firewood/ADG.

Community news site The Laker has an article about Franks Firewood in which a couple warns about their experience.

And it looks like an article published last year here at YouSuckatKijiji.com has the same phone number with a BBB warning. So, take that for what it's worth.

3 Responses to “Updated Jan 2012: Firewood complaint season”

LimeLolly said...
January 24, 2012 at 9:47 PM

What? Stop buying his firewood? Inconceivable.


Anonymous said...
September 2, 2012 at 12:59 AM

This sounds like the man that sells wood from his house at the end of Bisset Rd by Rainbow Haven Beach. He advertises on telephone poles and normally has a few ads on kijiji.He will rip people off so long then change his name and phone number. Do not buy firewood unless it is stacked on the truck and you can see b4 you buy.


Annonymous said...
March 14, 2014 at 4:07 PM

As of at least April 2013 this same guy at the end of Bissett rd has been operating as Robs Firewood on Kijiji. Ordered 8 cords and after being cut and split ended up with just over 4 cords. This guy is a major scammer and is well known by authorities who can't seem to do anything about it.


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