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Norton Oil customers testify; Hoping for money back

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 18 2013 05:06:12 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 18 2013 06:41:38 PM CST

It shutdown nearly two months ago without warning and Wednesday customers of Norton Oil told a judge they want their money back -- even though they know the Phillipsburg, New Jersey company will probably never pay them back.

It shutdown nearly two months ago without warning and Wednesday customers of Norton Oil told a judge they want their money back -- even though they know the Phillipsburg, New Jersey company will probably never pay them back.

Each customer talked about pre-paying for home heating fuel and losing thousands of dollars.

Many wish company owners would tell them why it happened.

Nearly a dozen people sat in Courtroom 3 at the Warren County Courthouse in Belvidere, New Jersey, all of for the same reason.

"Please tell me why it is you're suing Norton Oil Company," said Warren County Judge John Pursel.

The Phillipsburg-based company ceased operations in November taking their oil and their customers' money with them.

Since then, more than 200 complaints have been filed with the Warren County Weights and Measures Department by customers trying to get their money back.

"They still owe me oil delivery," said one woman. "I ordered 600 gallons and they only delivered 187.

These 10 cases are the first claims to be heard against Norton Oil.

Many are long time customers who are still in shock.

"I couldn't believe it," said Shirley Covert, a customer of Norton Oil for 15 years. "After doing business with them all those years. I said this can't be happening, but it was. It was true."

"It kind of makes you lose faith in some of the business people," added John Risko, who told a judge Norton still owes him $1,224.00. "They take your money on good faith and then you get nothing back and they just disappear and say okay I'm sorry."

But there was no apology Wednesday afternoon.

"Anyone from Norton Oil present in the courtroom today," said Pursel as he ruled on one case. "There is not. I'll enter a judgement in favor of the plaintiff and against the defendant in the amount of $2,290.99 plus costs."

Just an empty chair and some say an empty promise that they will ever receive oil or their money.

"I don't think I will see any of it but filing a judgement and getting it was something that had to be done just in case there is any ray of hope to get anything reimbursed," added Risko.

The judge granted over $17,000 in judgements and informed those in attendance that they won't be able to sue the owners in small claims court because the couple has already filed for bankruptcy.