A.G. Schneiderman Sues Westchester Heating Oil Company For Defrauding Consumers

A.G. Schneiderman Sues Westchester Heating Oil Company For Defrauding Consumers

NEW YORK - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that he has filed a lawsuit against Nu Way Fuel and Service Corp., Nu Way Services of New York, Inc.  (collectively referred to as "Nu Way"), owner David DeSilva Jr. and his father, David DeSilva Sr. The suit, filed in State Supreme Court in White Plains, charges that the unlicensed companies engaged in persistent fraudulent, illegal and deceptive conduct in connection with the operation of the Peekskill-based home heating oil business and seeks more than $80,000 in restitution for over 70 consumers. 

"My office will aggressively pursue unscrupulous businesses that fail to provide products and services that consumers have paid for," Attorney General Schneiderman said. "Not only is the costly home-heating season rapidly approaching, this lawsuit sends a message to contractors and suppliers around New York State that broken promises can result in law enforcement action. We are seeking to get them their money back and punish the lawbreakers."

Beginning in March 2012, Nu Way began taking pre-payments for heating oil and oil-burner service that were supposed to be provided to consumers throughout the 2012-2013 heating season. However, instead of filling customers' oil tanks, Nu Way delivered the oil in amounts -- sometimes as little as 15 gallons per delivery -- which constituted only a small fraction of the oil the customers paid for in advance. In addition, Nu Way completed only a portion of the oil-burner service work it was contracted to perform. 

As a result, Westchester consumers paid for more than $80,000 of heating oil and oil burner service that were never provided.

The lawsuit was filed today against Nu Way and its principal, David DeSilva Jr.  It also names DeSilva's father, David DeSilva Sr., who is involved in the day-to-day operations of Nu Way and has knowledge of the illegal acts and practices alleged in the lawsuit and/or directed or participated in them.    

Nu Way is not licensed by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance to sell or distribute home heating oil; and the Highway Use Tax ("HUT") and Automotive Fuel Carrier ("AFC") permits that allowed Nu Way's delivery truck to use state roads expired on December 30, 2012.   

To date, the Attorney General's office has received twenty consumer complaints against Nu Way. The Westchester County Department of Consumer Protection has received more than 50 complaints. At least twenty-eight consumers have sued Nu Way in Peekskill City Court to recover money owed to them due to the non-delivery of pre-paid home heating oil and oil burner service.  

"Deceptive business practices have no place in Westchester," said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. "Westchester, through our Consumer Department, has been working with the Attorney General's office on these cases with the goal of getting restitution."

In filing the lawsuit, Schneiderman seeks restitution for all injured consumers and a court order barring Nu Way and the DeSilvas from operating a home heating oil business in New York State unless they obtain all necessary licenses and permits and post a $200,000 performance bond. Also, the Attorney General's lawsuit seeks an order enjoining Nu Way and the DeSilvas from engaging in any future violations of consumer protection laws and an order directing them to provide a full accounting of monies received from consumers, all contracts and a complete list of customers.

Consumers with complaints against Nu Way should file a complaint with the OAG. Complaint forms are available here.

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Judy S. Prosper and Law Department Investigators John Slevin and Ralph Dorismond, under the supervision of Gary Brown, Assistant Attorney General-in-Charge of the Westchester Regional Office, and Martin J. Mack, Executive Deputy Attorney General for Regional Affairs.