Reporting 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 www.neighboroil.com, 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.