By Kate Merrill, WBZ-TVBy Kate Merrill

BOSTON (CBS) – It’s one of the worst bills we have to pay: The one to keep our houses warm.

Harriet Laurin researched how much it would cost to heat her home this year and the news wasn’t good. “It was nearly $4.00 a gallon in the summertime, and I said, ‘I don’t think so.’ There’s got to be a better way, so I started looking.

That’s when she found, a new company based in Andover which promises to save homeowners big bucks by earning points. The more points, the cheaper the oil.

WBZ-TV’s Kate Merrill Reports

Harriet’s first reaction wasn’t positive. “Scam. Scam. It’s got to be a scam. It looks too good to be true.”

CEO Paul Harkins says he’s hearing that a lot because people aren’t used to saving money on their heat. “You could buy food, clothes, airline tickets. You could reduce the price all the way down to almost nothing by using coupons and reward, incentives. Home heating oil never had that ability.”

So in the past, the only option to save money was to turn the thermostat down and grab another sweater. With Neighbor Oil the focus is on accumulating those points, and there are a couple of ways to do that.

First, you can get points by getting family and friends to sign up. Harkins says that is the most popular approach. “It’s as simple as ‘I found this site, check it out’.”

You can become one of their ambassadors on social media which is what Harriet did. “I did Facebook. I did list groups because I belong to a few Yahoo groups, mostly related to dogs. And guess what? Dog owners use oil too.”

The American pastime of shopping can also help you save money on your oil. Harkins explained, “The other way to earn points is to shop with our more than 3,000 retail partners. You will see the for X dollars you spend, you earn Neighbor Points. It’s very easy to do.”

Neighor Oil keeps track of your points and calculates your lower price every time your order oil. The savings can add up fast for the average client. “We are saving them 30%-35% over last year’s price,” said Harkins.

Harriet did even better than that. Way better in fact. “$1.70 for the entire delivery, a penny a gallon,” she bragged. That’s right. A penny a gallon.

Harriet prides herself on being a smart shopper and says she still can’t find a catch to the Neighbor Oil approach.

Neighbor Oil is free to use and doesn’t require any contracts. You do, however, have to use the supplier in your area who is part of their network.

Comments (15)
  1. Roberta says:

    i do not understand how this works. What r some of the retail places that i can go to? Is it everytime i shop there, u keep track of my points & when i need oil we figure out how many points we have & its deducted off the price of oil? Could u pls just email sum more info regarding this? I am an elderly woman who is having a very difficult time trying 2 pay 4 oil. Ive actually gone a few days without oil bcuz i couldnt afford it at the time &it seemed 2 happen on the coldest days of the year. Thank you 4 ur help. Im looking forward 2 learning more about this. Sincerly, Roberta Furlong

    1. harriet says:

      Roberta, I hope you see this response. I can’t email you because email addresses are not viewable on this site. How you do this: 1. Go to 2. Sign up for free. costs you nothing. 3. On the left hand side of the webpage while within the neighboroil site, there is a link to earn points by shopping. 4. click on that link. 5. Find the stores you prefer to shop at and shop. If you are shopping from within the neighboroil site, you’ll earn points towards oil. How much varies by the amount of your purchase with whatever store you are shopping at. NeighborOil tracks the points for you and then when you order oil through them, you use the points to reduce the cost of your oil purchase.

  2. Charles Tousley says:

    Oil scheme is a PONZI schemw. Do the math. The first person signs up 300 f riends,then those 300 people do the same thing, then all of a sudden there aren’e any more friends and the only one who ends up with a discount is VERY FEW of the original ones. I am shocked that WBZ would promote such a scheme.

    1. harriet says:

      Charles, I had the same concern at first. However, even if you never add a single friend, you can earn points. You log into the site, post comments on the internal board, or shop online by clicking on whatever partner stores interest you. There’s over 3,000 stores, including Target, etc. My personal favorite is :)

  3. Paul Harkins says:

    Actually, when a person refers a friend, the person AND the friend each receive points. You should do a bit of research before you call anything a “scheme” — especially because it is helping so many that need it.

    Roberta — just give us a call or go online — we can try and help!

    Paul Harkins
    CEO NeighborOil

  4. mikey says:

    Hey, if there are no fees, what’s the problem? Just by signing up you’re not obligated to buy from them, are you?

    Sure, the last people may find it difficult to find new referrals, but that’s all the program really is, a referral.

    Unless there’s more the article didn’t say…

    1. Harriet says:

      Again – even if you have zero friends, you can still earn points. Maybe not as fast as someone who might be a social butterfly, but every point counts. There are no fees. You can post comments on their internal board and earn points for that. You can shop online through their site and earn points for that too.

    2. Erin says:

      I see the referral as NeighborOil’s Marketing costs!

      But you’ll always earn points the same way Frequent Flyer credit cards or Stop and Shop Gas points work!!

  5. web says:

    Comment problems!!
    I don’t know if my ealier comment will post later, like it sometimes does here. I wanted to say that there are numerous companies/sites that offer referral points for shopping through their sites (credit card companies/airlines/retail/misc). I only shop online through a referral site and have received checks/gift cards etc., so they do exist. People that think it’s a scam may not shop that way, but if they shop online, they should! Thank you for the info.

  6. molly says:

    Looks like they don’t service the Worcester area!!! Should research where they service before making a news story on it.

    1. mikey says:

      Uh Molly… When’s the last time you saw this news service care or do ANYTHING concerning those out west of 495?

  7. Craig says:

    Another company similar to this one is Smart Click Energy. They have service throughout the Northeast and also have really low prices for home heating oil. I switched to them an was able to save a lot of money. Check them out

  8. Disbeliever says:

    Sounds very much like Amway (Scamway) and you know how that goes. Sad that the station takes one person, who like the one person that can manage to get a cart full of groceries for $5, and highlights it. That’s not how it will work for most folks. The wholesale price of heating oil is over $3.00 – no one is going to provide reliable service and delivery for a penny. Save you time and money.

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