Beware firewood scams, Canton man says
Thursday, February 20, 2014 - 7:22 am


To the Editor:

Many people like to provide firewood for the cold seasons. I see these ads on North Country Now all the time. However, here is a word of caution about buying firewood from illegitimate “dealers.”

According to the state Department of Agriculture, “In New York, all firewood sales and advertising must include the three dimensions of the wood, that is length, width, and height, with the wood ranked and well stowed.” When is the last time you saw this in the paper?

Have you bought wood from someone who just dumped their pickup truck onto your driveway and took your money? Did you really get that cord? A real cord of wood is about 4,000 pounds and cannot be transported in a regular pickup truck.

Also, every ad talks about “cords.” Really? Is it a cord or a face cord? Looking again at the above quote, if a person is advertising a “cord” it better be 4’x4’x8’ in dimensions properly stacked, not just piled into the truck bed and dumped on your driveway. It has been found that “cords” or “face cords” piled into trucks typically lose about 15 to 20 percent of wood volume when properly stacked.

Calculate the monetary loss on that! If you don’t get that then you’re being ripped off. If you want a face cord, which is about 1/3 of a full cord, then it should measure 24”x4’x8’. Of course the only way to know this is to stack it or have the seller stack it. These sellers will charge you more to stack it, and expecting that you don’t want to pay extra, they can get away with a short delivery.

And the state also recommends that you get a receipt containing the following: name and address of the seller; date of sale; quantity and dimensions of the wood when properly stacked; and the price. They also recommend you get the phone number of the seller and, if delivered, the license plate of the vehicle.

A reputable seller will not balk about the receipt, a sign that you’re not getting ripped off. The final caveat from the state is “If the seller can’t or won’t correct the problem, contact your local weights and measures office before you burn any wood. It is also helpful to document the possible shortage by taking a picture of the stacked wood.”

You can find more detail at

Steven Gilbert