Hey, there! Log in / Register

Man sues several energy-switch companies over repeated phone calls

An Ipswich man is suing six companies, including the locally well known Direct Energy, for what he says has been an unceasing flood of phone calls asking him to switch his energy provider.

William McDermet charges that in addition to ignoring the fact that his landline and cell numbers are in do-not-call registries, in violation of federal and state law, at least some of the calls involved representatives claiming they worked for Eversource or National Grid - and that at least two involved obscenities:

During the call on January 14, 2019, Plaintiff asked the caller for the name and address of his company. The caller responded "Shut the fuck up you motherfucker."

On April 10, 2019, the suit alleges, he got two calls from the same person - whom he told on the second call he was violating do-not-call laws:

The caller then offered his opinion that Plaintiff was a "piece of shit," then terminated the call. Less than one minute later the same voice (from a different number) called again.

McDermet, who has filed a number of similar suits in recent years against firms that call him without his permission, initially filed his lawsuit in November in Essex Superior Court. The companies - five based in Texas, one in Nevada - had the case switched to federal court in Boston yesterday because it involves the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

McDermet alleges that between July 12, 2016 and Oct. 28, 2019, he received a total of 140 energy-switch calls on his landline and cell numbers, in some cases more than once a day.

He is seeking $815,000 as recompense plus double or treble damages for the alleged violations, along with court costs - and an order requiring the companies to never call him again.

PDF icon Complete complaint330.1 KB



I hope he prevails and that his success inspires others to commence similar legal action

Voting closed 2

That was exactly my thought, too

Voting closed 3

Yup. I've been looking about trying to lower my costs of electricity some.. even if its a few bucks and just requires me to switch.

But I think Eversource is evil but.. all these complaints about these energy companies, both here, other places online, and by local PD (they harass us in Chelsea badly), it makes me not want to even bother looking at these at all. The time I would waste trying to deal with the headaches of even trying to research one to switch to just turns me off. Not that much of a savings really to warrant it.

Eversource sucks and gouges me but they don't spam me or knock on my door pushing their way in to get me to switch. I dunno, something to be said for that. And its not eversource's doing... the rest of the industry looks bad now. So Eversource wins. I am sure I am not the only one who feels this way.

Voting closed 2

read the fine print on one of the notices. they generally offer a rate that may or may not be less than your current rate for a short term. then you're locked in for a longer term at a variable rate. they can bill you for whatever they want. it would be a huge risk to sign one of those contracts for any consumer.

Voting closed 3

Most, if not all, of these companies that make cold calls on the phone (or door-to-door) are indeed scams. If I recall correctly, the Mass. A.G.'s office issued a report on them a few months ago that said just that. The A.G. wanted the General Court to adopt legislation restricting these companies.

As for the do-not-call list, again, if I recall correctly, there is a loophole in the do-not-call law that exempts these companies from the normal do-not-call lists. Instead, I think there is a separate do-not-call list that applies to these companies. To get on that list, you have to go through Eversource, National Grid, or whoever your electric company is.

However, these companies usually don't bother with that list either, they just call every possible number serving a given city. I've had calls from companies claiming to represent National Grid when Eversource (or formerly Nstar) serves my city.

We even had multiple teams from one of these companies going door-to-door in my neighborhood a couple of years ago. They were incredibly pushy, claimed to represent Eversource, and wanted to see my electric bill. They even barged into my then-terminally ill neighbor's apartment upstairs. I called Eversource, which denied that any of their employees should be ringing my doorbell that day, then I called the police. The police kicked them out of the city because they hadn't registered with the police department as door-to-door vendors (which is required in Cambridge).

Voting closed 23

According to the FTC's FAQ about the do-not-call registry, the complete list of exemptions from the do-not-call list is

  • political calls
  • charitable calls
  • debt collection calls
  • purely informational calls
  • surveys

(The example of purely informational is "your cable company confirming a service appointment.")

The problem, as also noted there, is that it's hard to enforce these rules -- or the ones against deceptive or abusive calls -- against scammers.

Voting closed 3

to block political, charitable, and survey calls? I have a telephone for MY convenience, not theirs.

Voting closed 4

The companies should not even have called because, living in Ipswich, the gentleman is served by a municipal power company and no competitive provider is available to him. These apply only to private power providers like Eversource or National Grid.

I get these calls in Peabody, and we are served by the Peabody Municipal Light Plant.


Voting closed 5

with a landline, just make all calls go to voicemail and send a (silent) notice to my cellphone. Problem solved. I harvest any messages a few times a day. Robocalls seldom leave messages. Anyone who might deserve immediate contact (children, boss) already has my cell number. So simple I'm embarrassed I didn't think of it sooner.

Voting closed 3

I get robocalls from these scumbag scammers several times a day. They make it sound like an urgent Eversource notice about an upcoming power outage or something.

In general I don't feel that individual private lawsuits are a good way to solve this type problem. But in this case, I'd be thrilled if it works.

Voting closed 11