Retail Supplier To Pay $5 Million Under Settlement With Attorney General
AG: "We Will Continue To Go After Competitive Electricity Suppliers Who Violate Our Laws"
March 29, 2018 Email This Story Copyright 2010-17 EnergyChoiceMatters.com
Reporting by Paul Ring • email@example.com
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The Massachusetts Attorney General said in a news release that Viridian Energy, LLC, "has agreed to pay $5 million to settle allegations of deceptive marketing and sales tactics that lured residents into costly contracts with high electricity rates."
Viridian Energy said in a statement to EnergyChoiceMatters.com that, "Viridian Energy is committed to the best interests of its customers. While the company denies any wrongdoing, the company cooperated fully with the investigation and its agreement with the Massachusetts Attorney General reflects Viridian’s commitment to the people of Massachusetts."
In an assurance of discontinuance, the AG’s Office alleged that Viridian Energy, through door-to-door sales, direct mail, and family-and-friend-based network marketing, "engaged in various deceptive and unfair sales tactics."
The AG’s Office also alleged that consumers who switched to Viridian, "ultimately paid more for electricity than if they had stayed with their utility."
"We will continue to go after competitive electricity suppliers who violate our laws," said AG Maura Healey
The AG's Office said in a news release that, "According to the settlement, Viridian contracted with independent sales agents and instructed them to tell potential customers, including friends and family members, that signing up with the company would save them money over time. In fact, customers paid more than they would have if they had remained with their electric utility company’s basic service."
The AG's Office said in a news release that, "The AG’s Office also alleges that a third-party marketer hired by Viridian to market and sell its electricity supply door-to-door engaged in widespread misconduct, including falsely promising savings, falsely representing an affiliation with the customer’s utility company, switching customers to Viridian without authorization, and other aggressive marketing tactics."
The AG's Office said that, under the terms of the settlement, Viridian will pay a total of $5 million, including $4.6 million to provide restitution to affected customers. The remainder of the payment will go toward: offsetting the cost of the office’s investigation of Viridian; creating a new fund for future enforcement cases the office brings against competitive electric suppliers; and the state’s General Fund.
The AG's Office said that, Viridian also has agreed not to market its electricity supply door-to-door in Massachusetts for the next two years, in addition to making several other changes to its marketing practices.
The AG’s Office has received hundreds of residential consumer complaints concerning the unfair and deceptive conduct of competitive electricity supply companies.