AG Announces Distribution of $88,000 in Case Involving Lehigh Valley Heating Oil Business that Suddenly Closed

HARRISBURG – Attorney General Tom Corbett has announced that more than $88,000 in refund checks are being distributed to several hundred consumers across the Lehigh Valley as the result of a consumer protection case involving a Lehigh Valley heating oil company.

Corbett said the checks are the result of an Assurance of Voluntary Compliance (AVC) with R.P. Hutchinson, Inc., of 33 S. Lea St., Macungie, after the company suddenly stopped honoring pre-paid contracts for heating fuel in March 2008.

The agreement required Hutchinson to pay at least $75,000 toward repayment for consumers who purchased heating fuel that was not delivered, as well as requiring the company to turn over any additional funds collected from various outstanding accounts.

Corbett said that by combining the money already set aside for this settlement, along with additional money that Hutchinson has collected from various accounts, a total of $88,290 has been generated to provide partial refunds to consumers.

Corbett said that 368 consumers will be receiving restitution checks ranging in size from more than $1,000, for organizations such as churches who pre-paid for substantial quantities of undelivered heating oil, to less than $50 for some consumers who were on monthly budget plans and had received nearly all of the oil that they had paid for. The average check amount is $239.

Corbett noted that the consumers receiving restitution checks include homeowners and small businesses who filed complaints with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, along with other consumers who were identified during the review of Hutchinson business records.

The AVC also specifically preserves the rights of individual consumers to take private legal action against R.P. Hutchinson to recover any additional money they may be owed after this distribution of settlement funds.

Consumers with questions, concerns or complaints related to R.P. Hutchinson should contact the Allentown Regional Office of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, at 610-821-6690.

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