Coal

This section explains your rights, safety issues and how to complain if you experience a problem.

Weight

Coal is sold by weight. The weight should be marked clearly on the bag. If you get your coal delivered from a company in open-topped bags, there should be a notice displayed on the lorry telling you the weight of the bag. It is a criminal offence to sell or deliver short weight.

Price

The price of the coal should be displayed clearly.

Safety

The most serious safety problems arise from damaged fires or blocked chimneys. These can cause carbon monoxide fumes that can kill. Have chimneys swept at least once a year.

If you have concerns about the safety of coal fired heating, who to contact about safety issues will depend on who owns the dwelling:

  • Housing Executive tenants should contact their NIHE District Office;
  • Private tenants should contact their landlord; and
  • Owner-occupiers should contact the Environmental Health Department of their local Council.

How to complain

  • Complaints regarding weight and/or price should be made to Trading Standards Service by calling Consumerline on 0300 123 6262;
  • Complaints about quality should first be taken up with the fuel supplier;
  • You can get information from the Northern Ireland Coal Trade Association Limited (NICTAL) at www.nictal.co.uk; and
  • The Consumer Council is an independent body that represents coal consumers and can take up complaints on your behalf.