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We would like to know if we can file a suit against Duke…

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We would like to know if we can file a suit against Duke Energy in Ohio for violating our consumer rights? We were approached by a representative for Duke about installing smart meters. While the gentleman was here we showed him that our box was coming away from the house. He told us when they come outA to install the smart meters they would fix it. They did install the smart meter and we assumed it was fixed. We did not go and check for ourselves. We should have. Yesterday, ( 3-4 weeks has passed) we come home to no power. We contact Duke and we are told there is an outage in our area and it will be estimated to be back on at 6:15 pm. It is 3:15 pm at that point. A couple hours later still no power. We see the Duke truck circling the neighborhood and flag them down. She tells us we are the only ones without power and she starts to investigate. She finally figured out they turned off our power due to the repair on the meter needing to be done. They did not notify us at all that this was taking place. When we told them this they said they are sorry for the inconvenience. After calling an emergency electrician to fix the problem and trying to get them back out to restore service we are told they can’t without an inspection. Even though the dispatch told us as long as it was fixed that evening they would restore it. We are now out over 1500 for the repair, the cost of the hotel, and not to mention the extreme emotional distress. Also our bill was current and paid in full during this entire problem. If they failed to give any notice prior to disconnection can we seek damages for this?
Submitted: 6 months ago.Category: Consumer Protection Law
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Answered in 28 minutes by:
11/30/2017
Consumer Protection Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 6 months ago
Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Consumer Protection Law
Satisfied Customers: 34,389
Experience: Practicing for over 20 years and handled many cases and trials for consumers.
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Hello and thank you for contacting us. This is Dwayne B. and I’m an expert here and looking forward to assisting you today.

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Consumer Protection Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Please allow me several minutes to read your facts and type my response both initially and when you add a follow up question or add facts. Please don't ask "are you there", etc., since when you post it can erase what I am working on. If we are having a conversation unless I tell you I am going offline, I will be here but I may be doing research.

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Consumer Protection Lawyer: Dwayne B., Lawyer replied 6 months ago

Your question: If they failed to give any notice prior to disconnection can we seek damages for this?

Answer: Yes, assuming that you haven't signed some type waiving your right to sue. Your problem is going to be that the costs of hiring an attorney is likely going to be substantially more than you would reasonably expect to recover in damages. However, if you bring a case alleging breach of contract you should be able to sue for your attorney's fees as well but that would still mean that you would have to pay the attorney's fee in advance and recover it at the end of the case.

I would estimate that the attorney's fees retainer will be in the neighborhood of $10,000 although the ultimate bill could end up more than that.

Based on the facts you've given, it sounds like there is a good chance you would prevail in your case but most cases take between one and three years to get to trial. Utility companies, like most insurance companies, have attorneys on staff who make it difficult for a person to sue them and use tactics designed to increase your attorney's fees so as to discourage lawsuits.

If your question has been answered then I'd offer my best wishes to you and ask that you please not forget to leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so I receive credit for my work. Of course, please feel free to ask any follow-up questions in this thread. I want to be sure all of your questions are answered.

Even if you are a subscriber or have a trial membership please leave a 5 Star Positive Rating so that the website knows I have answered your question.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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