State goes after energy companies that gouged consumers

Spokespersons for a number of energy companies operating in Pennsylvania are reportedly not responding to media inquiries into their business practices.

It’s certainly not hard to see why they are preferring to let their phones ring off the hook in lieu of trying to defend a number of deceitful practices that state officials have recently charged them with.

Those practices, which range widely from false promises to consumers to the use of contracts deemed illegal under state law, are now emerging in a big way in light of legal complaints recently filed against those companies.

At the crux of complaints made by Pennsylvania residents -- an astounding 42,000-plus phone calls were made to the state Attorney General’s Office within a recent four-month period -- is the excessive price gouging attached to electrical services received by consumers last winter. Notwithstanding the assertions of marketers from five separate energy companies that switching service to them would result in significant savings for users, the bottom line turned out to be hefty hikes in energy costs.

Consumers “were deceived,” noted state Attorney General Kathleen Kane recently. Kane views the companies’ actions as sufficiently manipulative and fraudulent to warrant the revocation of their business licenses in Pennsylvania, which would result in their inability to operate further in the state.

False promises and deceptive business practices are commonplace across a wide universe of business activities. In many instances, consumers justifiably rely on false assertions made by salespersons, brokers, lenders and other parties, to their financial detriment.

There are laws against that, with legal remedies that protect consumers’ interests and provide for damage recoveries against unscrupulous parties.

A proven Philadelphia consumer law attorney can provide further information and diligent representation in any consumer protection-related matter.

Source: Tribune-Review, "Pennsylvania pursuing 5 energy companies that jacked up consumers' electric rates," Brian Bowling, June 20, 2014

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