TRADE AND COMMERCE
SALES OF CERTAIN ARTICLES
Petroleum Sales Contracts
339:79 Requirements for Guaranteed Price Plans and Prepaid Contracts for Petroleum.
I. A contract with a consumer that offers a guaranteed price plan, requires prepayment by the consumer, or similar contracts shall be in writing and shall disclose the terms and conditions of the plan. A solicitation for such a guaranteed price plan that could become a contract upon response from a consumer shall also be in writing with the terms and conditions disclosed in plain language.
II. A contract for the retail sale of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas to a consumer shall also indicate the total amount of money to be paid by the consumer, the gallons committed by the fuel dealer to be delivered under the contract, the price per gallon, the payment terms, the duration of the contract, the remedies enforceable by the dealer against a non-performing consumer, and that the contract is secured as provided in this section. The information required by this section shall be in plain language and shall be printed in no less than 12-point boldface type of uniform font after the price of service described.
III. A contract that requires prepayment by the consumer shall comply with paragraphs I and II of this section. Such contract also:
(a) Shall not be advertised or solicited by the dealer in any manner to advertise, solicit, or promote the details of prepaid contracts being offered to consumers, nor shall the dealer solicit or promote pre-buy services independent of all the services offered by the dealer, earlier than May 1 or later than October 31 of the year in which the heating fuel season begins. Such contracts may be signed prior to May 1 only at the request of the consumer.
(b) Shall require dealers to reimburse consumers at the contract price for any undelivered pre-purchased fuel, within 30 days after the contract ends, unless the dealer and consumer agree to different terms.
(c) Shall include a clear explanation of the means by which the dealer will meet the obligations of the contract for the entire contract period, including supplier agreements, futures contracts, bonding, a line of credit or liquid product inventory.
(d) Shall not falsely claim coverage. Any dealer who falsely claims coverage or fails to maintain coverage until the completion of the contract shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor, in addition to other penalties as provided in paragraph VI.
IV. No home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer shall enter into a prepaid contract to provide home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas to a consumer unless that dealer has, within 7 days of the acceptance of the contract, obtained and maintained any one of the following:
(a) A firm commitment in the form of a futures contract or other commitment that guarantees that the dealer may purchase, at a fixed price, heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas in an amount not less than 75 percent of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer. The amount of such futures contract may be reduced to reflect any amount of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas already delivered to and paid for by the consumer;
(b) A surety bond, made payable to the attorney general, in an amount not less than 50 percent of the total amount of funds paid to the dealer by consumers pursuant to prepaid heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas contracts;
(c) A letter of credit, made payable to the attorney general, from an FDIC-insured institution in an amount that represents 100 percent of the cost to the dealer of the maximum number of gallons that the dealer is committed to deliver pursuant to all prepaid contracts entered into by the dealer. The cost shall be calculated at the time the contracts are entered into; or
(d) A liquid product inventory of home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas in an amount equal to 75 percent of the outstanding volume in gallons that the dealer is obligated to deliver under the terms of prepaid contracts in force.
V. Paragraph IV of this section shall not apply to budget plans under which consumers pay their yearly heating costs by making equal monthly payments.
V-a. A home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer who offers prepaid contracts under this section shall register the dealer's intent to offer such contracts with the secretary of state by May 1 of each year. Registration shall be on a form provided by the secretary of state and shall indicate which securitization method or combination of methods listed in paragraph IV are used to secure the contracts.
V-b. A home heating oil, kerosene, or liquefied petroleum gas dealer who offers prepaid contracts under this section shall file an annual report with the secretary of state by December 1 of each year demonstrating how the dealer has satisfied the requirements of this section, including how the prepaid contracts are secured. The report shall be made on a form provided by the secretary of state. The form shall conspicuously bear the warning that making a false statement on the form shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of RSA 358-A. The report shall be signed by the dealer. If the dealer is a corporation, the report shall be signed by either the president or an officer of the corporation and shall include a list of all of the members of the board of directors of the corporation. The secretary of state may not charge a fee for the form or for filing the report.
VI. Failure to comply with this section shall constitute an unfair or deceptive act or practice in violation of RSA 358-A.
Source. 2007, 376:4, eff. Sept. 1, 2007. 2014, 300:2-4, eff. Jan. 1, 2015. 2016, 107:1, eff. July 19, 2016.