Deceptive Business Practices Lawsuits

Some businesses use deceptive or unfair marketing or pricing terms to take advantage of consumers by overcharging them. They may include vague or deceptive price terms in their contracts or mislead customers over the phone. Pennsylvania and other states have strict laws against deceptive or unfair business practices that allow victims to recover up to three times their losses, as well as attorneys’ fees for bringing suit.

One way to put a stop to unfair business practices is a class action lawsuit. In a class action lawsuit, one or more lead plaintiffs brings claims on behalf of all the consumers who were harmed in a similar way. The lawsuit seeks to recover the amount customers were overcharged, plus additional amounts to punish the wrongdoer. The amount recovered is distributed to all of the consumers who have been harmed by the defendant’s deceptive business practices.

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The Market for Residential Heating Oil is Competitive

Most homeowners know that they have a choice as to who to call for their heating oil needs. Homeowners can compare prices on the web or call providers directly to ask about their pricing programs. In order to win business, heating oil companies try to pitch their own pricing programs as offering good value and competitive prices. One marketing pitch homeowners hear is that they can sign up for a capped price program, so that their cost never goes above the capped price, but if prices go down, they can take advantage of falling market prices. However, do heating oil providers keep their promises that customers will be charged lower prices if prevailing prices drop? Not always.

Current Lawsuit Against Heating Oil Provider

Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC is currently representing a class of consumers who signed contracts with subsidiaries of HOP Energy, Inc. for provision of residential heating oil. The lawsuit alleges that HOP Energy promised to charge customers the lesser of a Capped Price, or its prevailing market price. Yet, when market prices for heating oil dropped, the defendant continued to charge its Capped Price customers their higher capped price, instead of giving them the benefit of the lower prevailing retail price.

The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, treble damages, and punitive damages. Under the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law, each victim of a violation of the law is entitled to a minimum recovery of $100, no matter how small their out of pocket loss. A successful lawsuit may also cause this company to change its business practices.

Callery v. HOP Complaint

HOP Energy does business through various trade names in different markets. In Pennsylvania, HOP Energy calls itself DDM Energy, Altemos Atlantic Energy, and Brinkers Energy.

Lead Plaintiff Benefits in a Class Action Lawsuit

Would it be worth the time and effort to start a lawsuit where one was overcharged by $20 or less? Probably not. The point of a lead plaintiff’s award is to make it worthwhile for people to come forward when a large group of consumers has been harmed in a way that is too small to motivate each one to sue. Those who come forward to be lead plaintiffs represent the class of all similarly situated consumers. The award for lead plaintiffs should be many times what they would have recovered as unnamed class members.

What Should I Do If I Have Been Harmed by Deceptive Heating Oil Prices?

Were you the victim of unfair or deceptive business practices by HOP Energy, DDM Energy, Altemos Atlantic Energy, and Brinkers Energy? Would you like to become a lead plaintiff in the existing class action lawsuit, which would allow you to seek not only the amount you lost, but additional damages and a possible lead plaintiff award? Speak to the legal team at Wusinich, Sweeney & Ryan, LLC if you believe you were defrauded by HOP Energy or its subsidiaries. Call us today at 610-594-1600 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Located in Exton, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout Lehigh County, Northampton County, Bucks County, Montgomery County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Philadelphia County.

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