From the NY Post:
Underhanded sales practices like signing up customers without telling them and preying on non-English speakers could bar a Florida electricity seller from doing business in New York, state officials said today.
Liberty Power Corp.’s door-to-door sales force promises to lower Con Ed electricity bills by claiming Liberty gets better deals from generating companies.
But Liberty’s salespeople have repeatedly lied to customers by misrepresenting themselves as Con Ed or city employees, the Public Service Commission said.
In one case, a Liberty saleswoman pretended to be a city employee investigating Con Ed overcharges, and asked a customer to sign a “consent form” that was really a contract.
Even though the man didn’t sign the form, Liberty took over his electric bill anyhow, the state says.
In another case cited by the commission, a Con Ed customer complained that even though she had never signed a contract, “all three accounts at her three-family home had been switched to Liberty Power without her consent.”
Public Service Commission probers say Liberty has also presented English-language contracts to non-English speaking customers without offering a translation, a violation of state rules.
Liberty’s “misleading” and “deceptive” sales practices have resulted in more than 200 complaints since 2011, the PSC says.
The commission demanded last year that the company change its ways — but it said today the complaints are still rolling in, and that Liberty’s oversight of its sales force is “inadequate.”
It gave Liberty one week to tell the commission why it shouldn’t be barred from seeking new customers, and two weeks to tell the commission why it should not be booted from New York entirely.