FAQ's

You are hereFAQ's
Register   |  Login
 

What is a Group Buying Syndicate?

Minimize

A group of householders who order 28 second burning oil (the technical name for the most commonly used heating oil, also known as kerosene) in bulk, for individual home delivery on a single date. The supplier will offer a discount because he only needs to send a vehicle to the area and is (virtually) guaranteed to empty it. The supplier saves on manpower and vehicle usage and will offer a discount. To get a good discount I aim for the aggregate order to be 10,000 litres or more. When you don't have choices other than oil heating you are buying the stuff anyway. This scheme is nearly free money!

 

How does the scheme work?

Minimize

Periodically you will receive an email inviting you to place an order. The minimum order will be 500 litres. If you wish to order, your order will be aggregated with everyone else who wishes to order at that time. If we can achieve a decent aggregate volume then the organizer will contact several suppliers for price and delivery quotations. The organizer will select from the price and delivery options available on that day and agree a date range for delivery. The supplier will deliver; and you will receive an individual invoice from the supplier. The organizer acts as your agent in placing the order.

Smaller groups (about 20 members) can support three orders per year. Larger groups can be more frequent.

 

How much discount will I get?

Minimize

That will depend on how big the scheme gets, how large each order is, how frequently we order, and how easy we are to deal with. Historically (as at May 2009) we have averaged 3.7 pence, per litre off already competitive prices. About 10% discount. That could be £70, or more, off a 2000 litre delivery. If you normally order less than 1000 litres you are probably paying a premium price (it costs the suppliers the same to send a tanker to your home but they only get the profit on 500litres so they charge more). Your saving will be larger. We've saved over 6p/litre off the 500 litre price.

 

What’s your price today?

Minimize

I do not monitor oil prices on a day by day basis. So I have no price today. On the day I place the order I negotiate with as many suppliers as I can get though to. It always amazes me how often these businesses just don't answer the phone, or don't return calls. Once I have prices I usually award it to the lowest price supplier. See next FAQ...

 

 

Do you just pick the lowest price?

Minimize

Usually. However I know that with some suppliers the deliveries will work perfectly, they just never make mistakes. Some other suppliers have a pretty terrible service record. So price is the main driver but if there is almost nothing to choose between them I have my favourites.

 

Is the scheme free?

Minimize

The scheme is free of charge to the member. (Except in Scotland where there is a £20 pa membership subscription.)

There is a lot to organize and the organizer receives a commission from the oil suppliers. (Except in Scotland where the scheme is funded by the subscriptions.)

 

What if not everyone wants oil at the same time?

Minimize

Thats fine. You are not expected to participate in every order. In general there will be (about) six orders per year, unevenly spaced. That is a good compromise between convenience (when you need oil there should be an order along soon) and grouping (we need to get enough people together to make up a decent volume).

As a rough average, most people participate in about one out of every two or three runs.

 

Can I choose the delivery date?

Minimize

No. The discount is achieved because the deliveries all happen on the same day (or days. The supplier may choose to deliver over more days if it suits them). It is very unlikely that you will have a precise delivery date. It is more likely to be a range of possible dates.

 

Can I choose the delivery time?

Minimize

No. The discount is achieved by allowing the supplier to operate in a way which is efficient for them. You are likely to be quoted a range of possible delivery dates. The tanker might show up at any time on one of those dates.

 

Do I have to be in when the oil is delivered?

Minimize

Not if the delivery driver can gain easy access to the tank to fill it and you are prepared to accept their delivery note as proof of what they delivered.

 

How do I pay for my oil?

Minimize

The supplier will provide an individual invoice for you and you will be expected to pay them *promptly*. Typically the invoice will show the discounted price for prompt payment, and a significantly higher price for later payment. Paying late is likely to result in a much higher price that may eliminate any saving from using the scheme.

 

I’m in a ‘standing order’ top-up scheme. Can you take that over?

Minimize

No. You are probably suffering twice in such a scheme. The supplier tops up your tank in small amounts, so you get charged for your oil at the small order rate. The supplier has your business captive and has no incentive to give you the best price. The supplier also has the use of your money in advance.

 

Do I have to purchase all my oil from the scheme?

Minimize

No. Obviously it is good for the scheme if you do, because it allows us to order more frequently (more convenient) and bigger (better prices). If you run low and the scheme is not planning an order then you should make your own arrangements.

 

Will I know exactly what I will pay?

Minimize

Not until the order is placed. The organizer will call several suppliers (he wants the best price too). The suppliers will want the business.  It's a good size order for them and dead easy for them to deliver too. If you can get as good a price then the organizer wants to add your source to his list.

 

How can I be sure it's a good deal? Do you have a price promise?

Minimize
If you can get a better price *on the day we order* then you can cancel your order.  So long as you cancel *on the day*. Twenty-four hours is a long time in oil pricing. If you *can* get a better price then I will want to talk to your supplier because I have a cost saving deal he will find hard to resist.
 

How much notice will I have of a delivery?

Minimize

Not much. It will probably take about one to two weeks to organize and execute an order. Something like:

- Day 1 - Invite members to submit an order within the next 10 days

- Day 10 - Finalize the orders to see that we have a decent total volume

- Day 11 Call suppliers and agree price and approximate delivery date

- Day 11 Notify members of expected delivery date and the agreed price. If you don't like the price you could drop out here.  You would have to act extremely quickly.  You will be assumed to want to go ahead, and the supplier will already have your order.

- Day 13 or 14 or 15 (roughly) Delivery

 

How will I submit my order?

Minimize

Through the web site.

 

How will I be notified that an order is being planned?

Minimize

Notifications will be sent by email.

 

How will I be notified of price and delivery?

Minimize

Notifications will be sent by email.

 

Can People Without Email Join?

Minimize

Yes.  The member needs a helper to operate an account for them. Perhaps a friend, a neighbour, or a relative.

The helper creates an account, using all the member's details, but putting in the helper's email address. That way the suppliers are properly aware of the delivery address, access arrangements, tank size.  The invoice will go to the member. All that will come to the helper is the emails.

If the helper wishes to handle payment on behalf of the member then write a message in the ACCESS arrangements.  Somthing like - "Please make all payment requests to XXX."  Put this in the ACCESS arrangements as that data goes to the supplier.  Do NOT put it in the Notes.  Suppliers do not see that.

 

Can I get an urgent delivery?

Minimize

No. If you don't plan ahead this scheme is unlikely to work well for you. On the other hand the emails from the scheme organizer may prompt you to check the tank more frequently than you might otherwise have done.

 

What should I do if I am running short?

Minimize
Check the website page for your syndicate group.  Upcoming order plans are announced there and on the front page of the site.
 

Can I get the discount price if I don’t order though the scheme?

Minimize

No. You are free to negotiate anything you can with any supplier you find.

 

Will there be a price break for larger orders?

Minimize

No. Everyone will get the same price.

 

I like to use Topanol/Aga mix/Glowmax... additive. Can you supply that?

Minimize

Your oil comes from the standard suppliers. If they carry the additive you want, then yes. I do NOT negotiate on the prices for additives. If you want an additive then put your requirements in the notes field for that specific order. I advise you to be VERY specific about your needs. You might say "Please supply 1 litre of additive.", "Please supply 1 litre Topanol only, no substitute." Or "If you cannot supply GlowMax DO NOT PROCEED WITH THE ORDER."

 

Can the scheme order more frequently?

Minimize

Yes. It depends on the size of the group. At 20 members about three times per year. At 60 members double that. It's in your interests to mention the group to others and encourage them to register on the site. Orders are unevenly spaced through the year because usage is higher in the winter.

 

Can anyone join?

Minimize

In principle, anyone may join. In practice the suppliers are dealing with the members. If a member annoys the supplier, or makes life hard for them, they may choose to decline the business. The organizer will only act as the members agent in submitting the order. The organizer is like anyone else and wants an easy life. The organizer may refuse anyone membership, or refuse continued membership, at his/her sole discretion and without giving a reason.

 

Can I tell all my friends, neighbours and family?

Minimize

Absolutely YES! Please tell everyone even if they don't use oil they likely know someone who does. If they live locally they can join the scheme. If they are farther afield then we can start a scheme local to them. I can help them to do that.

 

Does the organizer disclaim liability?

Minimize

Yes. Completely. The organizer will only act as the member's agent in submitting the order. The organizer is trying to be helpful and provide a useful service. The organizer does not accept liability for any loss or damage you may suffer through being a member of the scheme.

 

Oil News

Minimize
Network with us on facebook
Follow us on Twitter