Since I moved back to Bangor six years ago, I've been buying firewood pretty regularly every year. And every year, I seem to get a different sized pile of wood. I've always paid for two cords, and more than once, I've been obviously shortchanged. But what can you do in a situation that will definitely feel like your word versus someone else's?

I got wood from a guy last year, and when he dropped my two cords, I was kind of flabbergasted. The pile looked huge. And I said so. He told me he got that a lot. He said he makes sure that his wood was always measured accurately, by cubic feet. He said a lot of folks that sell wood use the back of their truck as a gauge. Which can vary greatly.

A true cord of wood is 4ft x 4ft x 8ft. Which when you do the math, is 128 cubic feet of wood. So if you think you've been shorted, the quickest way to find out it to stack it and measure it. Say you discover at that point that you've been shorted. It would seem the next obvious step is to check with your supplier.

But what if they disagree? According to the BDN, that's where the state can actually step in and help out. Fire wood sales are regulated by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. They can send out someone from the quality assurance department to measure the wood to determine if there's a shortage.

From that point, their office tries to settle the complaint outside of court through a simple mediation process. If the parties involved can't come to agreeable terms, but it is deemed there's a shortage, the customer could then take the supplier to civil court.

At the end of the day, let common sense prevail. Ask around to find a reputable source. Always get a receipt with both parties names on it. The state even has an online calculator for measuring stacks of wood. If you do it yourself, multiply the length x width x height, and that will give you the cubic footage.

It's good to know your rights, and what you can do. And if it doesn't look right, take action right away. Stack it and measure it to be sure. Hopefully, you can just work it out with the supplier. But if not, now you know there's somewhere you can turn to help get a solution to the problem. Otherwise, good luck, and stay warm!