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lone-eagle-grille-onNo summer is complete without a few nights sitting around a fire pit, enjoying a cold beverage, s’mores, and good conversation. But did you know that Massachusetts regulates the sale of firewood?

How is firewood sold?

Firewood is sold by a measurement called a “cord.” A cord, like other measurements such as a foot, a gallon, or a ton, is defined by law as 128 cubic feet. When buying firewood, avoid buying from a seller using terms such as “truckload,” “face cord,” or “pile” because these terms have no legally defined meaning.

To be sure you have a cord, the wood should be stacked neatly in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, making sure that the wood is compact and has as few gaps as possible.

When buying firewood:

  • Always get a receipt which shows the seller’s name and address; the price, amount and kind of wood purchased; the license plate of any delivery vehicle; and if possible, the seller’s phone number.
  • When the wood is delivered, ask the seller to stack it (you may have to pay extra for this service) or stack it yourself and measure it before using any of the wood.
  • If the cubic measurement indicates that you did not receive the correct volume, contact the seller before you burn any wood.

What to do if you think you’ve been short-changed?

If the seller can’t or won’t correct the problem, contact the Division of Standards at (617) 727-3480. Be sure to document the possible shortage by taking pictures of the stacked wood. The Division of Standards or your local weights and measures office will come to your house and measure the wood. If the delivery is short, the DOS will request the seller deliver more wood or refund a portion of your money.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

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