Can I sue the electric company for using my information without my permission?

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Can I sue the electric company for using my information without my permission?

I am having a dispute with the electric company. Myself and 3 others moved into a rental property together; 1 took responsibility for the electric in his name and set it on a budget billing which over time developed a balance. He then missed a payment and also moved out. The electric company would not transfer the name over to us so we did not know of the balance. Months later the account defaulted. Now they want to suddenly tack our names on to the account and make us pay for the entire remaining balance and have it go to collections. When he signed, he signed up alone.

Asked on April 25, 2011 under Bankruptcy Law, Minnesota

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This sounds like a typical event that occurs with the electric company. It cannot transfer the bill to you for a number of reasons from state regulations to privacy laws. If you attempted to get the balance transferred to you or the name of the bill and now the electric company wants you to, don't fall for it. Explain in writing your attempts to get the name and bill transferred and cc your state representative and your state attorney general and explain that the bill should be at a zero balance if you are opening an account in your name and the electric company will simply have to attempt to get the balance from the previous co-tenant. The electric company may attempt to make you and your roommates pay the total balance but you can tell them that if you wish to be fair, you will agree to you and your roommates paying a prorated share (i.e., 3 roommates, one left, you and your other roommate will each pay 1/3).


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