Anti-ESCO Scam Bill Proposed

We’ve told you plenty about door-to-door salesmen who trick consumers into switching energy service companies. Now, in direct response to the deceptive marketing tactics of these ESCOS, New York Assemblyman Micahel Gianaris wants to pass an Energy Consumer Bill of Rights.

Under Michael Gianaris’ proposition, ESCOS would have to:

  • Identify variable charges in contracts
  • Not change a contract’s length without consent
  • Provide a clear and simple statement of subscriber rights
  • Limit cancellation fees to under $100

He was going to put in a part about making it illegal to pretend like you’re from the customer’s regular energy company, but luckily that’s already illegal.

Lawmaker Proposes Bill To Protect Against Utility Scams [NY1]


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  1. B says:

    Shouldn’t the first three be required in all contracts? The fourth, two, in a perfect world (Cell phone companies, I’m looking at you).

  2. semiquaver says:

    Several of of these guys canvassed my neighborhood the other week. One came to my house vaguely claiming to be from the power company, and immediately said she “needed to see” a copy of my recent power bill. Needless to say, I turned her away pretty quickly, but my neighbor nearly got hoodwinked, before I walked over with a printout from the local paper on how their company was a scam outfit. The “salesperson” was actually pretty embarrassed and feigned ignorance. I’m sure with those sorts of tactics they manage to ensnare quite a few people, especially the elderly.

  3. Great. Now can we move on to those door-to-door “scholarship” kids selling magazine/newspaper subscriptions? I’ve yet to hear of one actually getting any money for college.

  4. NO

    NOT Enough

    $100 Cancellation Fee? That is like giving these frauds $100 from everybody that scam over. Sorry buster. How about ZERO Cancellation Fee?

    The rest of the proposal is just fodder for lawyers. Won’t help the consumers.

    Hey, I got an idea, why don’t you just outlaw door to door solicatation by these vendors. Solves a lot of problems because mail fraud is so easy to prove.

  5. BrianDaBrain says:

    @Corporate-Shill: Considering the purpose of the bill is to prevent scams, you’d think a $0.00 cancellation fee would make sense… but these are, after all, politicians. You can only expect so much from them.

  6. @BrianDaBrain:

    One could wish.

  7. mmstk101 says:

    um . . . yes, making it illegal for these energies to change the length of a contract without consent is a good thing . . . how the hell did it take so long for someone to realize that and do something about it?

  8. Angryrider says:


    Anyway, at least the bill exists, and our Congress is to lazy to draft one like this. NY Assembly, you’ve a tip of my shoe.

  9. SkokieGuy says:

    A friend is under a similar reseller plan in the Chicago area. He moved from a townhouse with gas furnace / water heater / stove to an apartment with a gas stove only.

    He could not cancel the contract without hefty fees, so he is still under their contract. Even though his usage is now cooking gas only, his gas bill is over $50.00 a month.

  10. sisedi says:

    I see no law necessary here. If you’re dumb enough not to read the terms and fall for this, you probably deserve to have it. Live / Learn, don’t give the government a reason to create some new task force or whatever and increase taxes in order to do it.

  11. cerbie says:

    Why not that if they come to you claiming to be someone they are not, the contract was clearly not made in good faith, and they must refund you entirely, leaving you owing your previous power company what you would have owed if you had not switched?

    …and, how was it legal to change the length of the contract without consent in the first place?