Buying firewood in New Mexico?  Know the law so you don’t get burned


NMDA says law ensures you get your money’s worth

(LAS CRUCES, N.M.) – The New Mexico Department of Agriculture (NMDA) is reminding New Mexicans that there’s a law governing firewood sales in this state – and that it exists to ensure that people buying firewood get their money’s worth.

NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division (SCS) regulates New Mexico’s Weights and Measures Law, which covers how firewood and other agricultural commodities must be advertised and sold in order to maintain fairness in the marketplace for both buyer and seller.

“We sometimes see firewood sellers using a variety of 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.  “So when you see firewood labeled in these ways, it’s impossible to know whether you’re getting a fair deal or not.”

Instead, Johnson added, “people should look for firewood sold by the cord or fraction of a cord.”

New Mexico law actually requires that firewood be advertised and sold by volume, either 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 amounts of wood by weight, but the seller must declare the price-per-cord equivalent.  This does not apply to firewood sold in packaged bundles weighing less than 100 pounds.

There are a few other things to keep in mind when you’re buying firewood in New Mexico:

  • If possible, be on hand when the seller stacks and measures your firewood.
  • For every delivery of firewood, get a receipt or invoice with the name and address of the seller, date of delivery, quantity delivered, identity of the commodity, and the total selling price.
  • If possible, get the seller’s phone number and the license plate of the delivery vehicle.
  • Bundles of kindling wood or similar packages must include what’s called “a statement of net content”, which details the weight or measure of the firewood.
  • The label must also include the name and place of business of the packager or distributor and a word or phrase identifying the product.

If you suspect that a company or individual is selling firewood in a way that violates state law, please contact NMDA by visiting www.nmda.nmsu.edu/scs or by calling NMDA’s Standards and Consumer Services Division at 575-646-1616.