NMDA shares tips so New Mexicans don’t get burned when buying firewood

(LAS CRUCES) – With wintry weather expected across much of New Mexico this weekend, New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is reminding people who plan to buy firewood this season to know what to look for so they get their money’s worth.  NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division (SCS) regulates New Mexico’s Weights and Measures Law, which addresses how firewood and other commodities must be advertised and sold in order to maintain fairness in the marketplace for both buyer and seller.

“As we get closer to winter, sometimes you’ll see some roadside firewood sellers using some pretty loose terms – face cord, loose cord, Albuquerque cord, truckload, load, rack, pile – but none of these are actual legal units of measurement,” said Ray Johnson, SCS assistant division director.  “Since it’s impossible to know whether you’re getting a fair deal or not when you buy firewood labeled in these ways, people should look for firewood sold by the cord or fraction of a cord.”

In fact, state law requires firewood to be advertised and sold by the cord or fraction of a cord.  A cord is legally defined as 128 cubic feet of wood, commonly seen in a tight stack 4 feet wide by 4 feet high by 8 feet long with logs stacked parallel to one another.  State law allows firewood sellers to sell lesser amounts of wood by weight, but the seller must declare the price-per-cord equivalent.

Things to keep in mind when buying firewood in New Mexico:

  • It is illegal to sell firewood in unspecified quantities such as load, truckload, face cord, loose cord, rack, or pile.
  • If firewood is sold by weight, the seller must declare the price per unit of weight and the equivalent price per cord. (This does not apply to firewood sold in packaged bundles of less than 100 pounds.)
  • The buyer should have the firewood stacked and measured while the seller is present.
  • Each delivery of firewood must be accompanied by a receipt or invoice containing the name and address of the buyer and seller, date of delivery, quantity delivered, identity of the commodity, and the total selling price.
  • If possible, the buyer should get the seller’s phone number and the license plate of the delivery vehicle.
  • Bundles of kindling wood or similar packages must be labeled with a statement of net content in terms of weight or measure.
  • The label must include the name and place of business of the packager or distributor and a word or phrase identifying the product.

Firewood buyers who suspect that a company or individual is selling firewood in a way that violates state law may contact NMDA by calling NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division at 575-646-1616.