Energy provider XOOM Energy was sued this month by customers in Maryland and New Jersey who claim the company uses "bait and switch" tactics by luring in customers with low rates before suddenly increasing them.
The company did not respond to a request for comment on Friday. The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Jan. 16, seeks damages of more than $5 million on a class-action basis. One of the two plaintiffs, Oladipupo Adesina of Laurel, alleged that when he switched his service from Baltimore Gas and Electric in June, he paid reasonable rates for two months. After that, XOOM increased its rate to 35 percent of what he would have paid BGE, according to the lawsuit.
Some alternative energy providers, including XOOM, have come under scrutiny by the Maryland Public Service Commission for their marketing and customer service practices. In April, the PSC ordered XOOM and four other providers to prove they did not engage in unfair business practices; that case is ongoing. XOOM denied wrongdoing in response to the case.