Home » Country Life » Avoid Being Ripped Off When Buying Firewood

Avoid Being Ripped Off When Buying Firewood

avoid being ripped off when buying firewoodIt’s getting cold outside and now its time to get more firewood. Here are some tips to help you avoid being ripped off when buying firewood.

Avoid Being Ripped Off When Buying Firewood

Here is a list of tips to help you Avoid Being Ripped Off When Buying Firewood.



Ask for a receipt. This will help you keep to keep the seller honest. The receipt must show the following:

  • Name and address of the seller
  • Date of sale
  • Quantity and dimensions of the wood (when stacked properly)
  • The price

Other information that is good to keep for your records:

  • The wood vendor’s phone number. If you found the dealer by an advertisement, keep a copy of the ad with your receipt.
  • If the firewood is delivered, make note of the license number, of the delivery vehicle.

Inspect the wood. Wet wood is very heavy compared to seasoned wood. Seasoned wood should also be a bit darker. If you aren’t a good judge of wood, or can’t be outside in the cold, check with your friends who may have more experience, to see if they can stop over when the wood arrives. Too many sellers are selling “seasoned” wood, that hasn’t been seasoned at all, or they aren’t delivering hardwoods, like they advertise.

unseasoned and seasoned firewood

Top: Unseasoned wood; Bottom: Seasoned wood


Avoid deliveries after dark, unless there is sufficient lighting, where the wood will be unloaded. This is a common trick. They will call and tell you that they are running behind schedule, so they can come after dark, making it harder for you to “see” the wood well. Kindly defer until the next daylight delivery time, or just move on to another firewood seller.

One cord, when stacked properly, should be 8 feet long by 4 feet high and 4 feet wide (128 cubic feet). 8x4x4 or 16x2x4, etc.

Quickly eyeball the amount of wood, from the size of the truck making the delivery. Don’t be afraid to call them out or send them on their way with no transaction.

Stack the wood, measure the size of the pile.  If it comes up short, talk to the seller.  If they are honest, they should bring you more wood with no extra charge.  If they dispute it, then it is probably a good idea to move on.

Spread the word.  Selling firewood is a competitive business.  If you have a good positive experience with someone, tell people you know, to help that business out.  Word of mouth advertising is valuable for these hard working wood sellers.  If you have a negative experience, make sure to spread the word.  Tell your neighbors, post it on Craigslist, post it on a blog, etc.  If these wood scam artists realize they can’t sell their product, they may get out of the business or change their ways.

not a cord

12ft x 4ft x 18inches – Not a Cord!

Unseasoned Wood

If you find yourself stuck with a load or cord of unseasoned wood, and you can’t get your money back or the wood replaced, fret not, here are some tips to help you keep this wood for the next burning season.

Stack the unseasoned firewood, off the ground. You can use pallets or a firewood rack. Keeping the wood off the damp ground is important.

There are many inexpensive firewood rack brackets that allow you to purchase 2x4s at your local lumber yard. I use 3 16ft 2×4’s. Two for the bottom rails, to keep the wood elevated off the wet ground and to allow airflow under the wood to help it season/dry well, and 1 2×4 cut into 4 foot sections for the end pieces, so your firewood doesn’t roll off the edge of the rack.

Since my racks are 16 ft long, and my end rails are 4 feet high, it will hold about a cord of wood, if the pieces are cut to 24 inches (2 feet).

firewood rack

Cover this unseasoned firewood with a tarp, and hold it down with some old logs or heavy stuff. This will keep the wood from getting wet in any precipitation. You can find tarps at local shops, like Harbor Freight, or on Amazon.com. Keep in mind that a tarp exposed to weather 24×7 will probably only last about 1 year (your mileage may vary).

If all goes well, this wood will be ready to burn next season.

Seasoned Firewood

If you do get some decent seasoned firewood, make sure to store it, off the ground and covered. You can use pallets, a firewood rack or firewood rack brackets with 2x4s and cover the wood with a tarp, just like above in the unseasoned firewood.

If you follow these tips it should help you avoid being ripped off when buying firewood or make the best of storing any wood you do end up with!

Good luck and stay warm.

* This post may contain affiliate links. This means that I “might” receive a tiny amount of money, if you make a purchase using one of our links. It does not cost you anything extra, and helps us defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this site.