Help! A Solar Company Forged My Signature on a Contract

“Abuse.” “Dishonest.” “Fraud.” “Racketeering. These are the type of words you’d expect to see used to describe an organized crime family, not a company claiming to provide clean, renewable energy.

Nevertheless, this was the language New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas used last year in filing a civil complaint against Vivint Solar, accusing the company of deceptive business practices.

We’d like to tell you this is an isolated incident. But sadly, there are a growing number of scams coming out of the world of solar. Forged signatures, unlawful access to credit reports may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solar scams.

How solar scams play out

You’re at home one day when a salesman knocks on your door. But he claims that what he’s selling – solar panels – won’t actually cost you any money.

Solar panels, he says, will pay for themselves. In fact, you might even make money. All you have to do is sign his tablet. And while it may not seem like it, you’ve become the target of a solar panel scam.

It might be that he’s signed you up for a contract you don’t need or want or added a neighbor or relative’s name to the contract.

And with your forged signature, solar companies will sometimes pull your credit report without your consent, a violation of the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act.

The rise of solar energy scams

Solar Panel Installation

In the New Mexico case, the state accused Vivint of using deceptive business practices by tying them into 20-year contracts that force them to buy the electricity produced by the panels at exorbitant rates.

The attorney general says the company’s sale model allows its workers to overstate how much consumers could save by going solar. Some people were told they could see their energy bills cut in half by going with Vivint.

And it’s not just Vivint. According to USA Today, the Better Business Bureau processed dozens of complaints in New Jersey alone over the past few years. They came from customers who say they were misled by solar companies about things like their ability to cancel contracts and the amount of money they could save.

You’re the victim of a forged signature. Solar companies should have to answer for their fraud.

Before you sign up for a solar contract, it’s a good idea to ask the following:

  • What if I want to sell my house?
  • How can I get out of my contract?
  • What will it cost to get out of my contract?
  • Will my monthly rate per kilowatt hour or monthly leasing charge for the solar panels automatically go up each year?

You should also consult with an attorney, especially if you think you’ve already become a victim of a solar panel scam.

If you discover that a solar company has pulled your credit report without your permission, the law firm of Flitter Milz can help.

We’ve heard complaints about unscrupulous solar companies from consumers around the country. Our lawyers can work with you to determine if your rights have been violated.

Whether a solar company forged your signature or wasn’t upfront about its contract, we can make sure your rights are protected. Contact us today to learn more.

E Signing Your Rights Away

In our increasingly paperless society, more and more companies are requiring consumers to sign contracts electronically, called “e-signing.”  You may have encountered this yourself.  A door-to-door salesperson promises you a deal that sounds almost too good to be true, but only if you sign their electronic tablet on the spot.  An online lender guarantees to get you money now, but only after you check the boxes on the website.  The convenience seems hard to pass on.  You don’t even have to deal with the finicky fine print! Instead, you get what you want, and you can get it now.

Continue reading E Signing Your Rights Away

Are you a Victim of a Solar Panel Scam?

Beware of Forgery. Fraud. Bogus Documents.

Were you visited by a solar salesman, only to find that your credit report was pulled without permission?  Were you put in to a forged contract for solar energy?  If so, you may be a victim of a solar energy scam and your consumer rights may have been violated.

Door-to-door solar power sales is high pressure.  Solar salesmen are usually trained to engage unsuspecting homeowners in conversation and employ tactics to sell items that they may not be ready to buy. 

Often, the consumer may be misled in to believing that the salesman works for her Electric Company.  During the sales pitch, the consumer may be asked to allow an inspection of the roof for a “roof survey”, or told that a review of energy bills is required.  The salesman may try to convince the consumer that energy costs will be lowered because solar energy is free, and with the installation of solar panels the consumer will make money.

To gain access to your property, the salesman may request your signature on a tablet or iPad.  Beware. Your signature may be used to obtain your credit report, or commit you to a long term contract.

The law requires that a company have a permissible purpose to obtain your credit report.  If a company does not have your authorization or consent, the impermissible credit pull could be a violation to your consumer rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Credit Reports Pulled without Consent

Transunion, Experian and Equifax maintain a consumer’s credit history.  Credit reports list private, personal information about payment histories for real estate, loans and credit cards, as well as defaults, late payments, charge-offs, collections and public records.  The consumer must provide permission for his or her credit to be pulled, or to actually apply for credit.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act offers protections to consumers whose reports were pulled without permission.  Whether a salesman comes to your door to sell solar panels or another product, the consumer must knowingly provide permission for credit reports to be pulled.  Obtaining access to credit reports under false pretenses could be a violation to your consumer rights.

Free Legal Evaluation for violation of Credit Privacy Law

If you were visited by a solar panel salesman from Vivint Solar, or another door-to-door salesman, you should obtain and review your current credit reports.  The credit report inquiry section of the report lists who has accessed your credit information.  If you find that Vivint, Vivint Solar or Solar Mosaic pulled your credit report without your permission and that there is a hard inquiry on your credit report, contact us to discuss a potential violation of your consumer rights.  There is no cost for the legal evaluation, and no cost to pursue a case if your credit reporting rights have been violated.

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm with expertise in credit report law violations and matters involving credit report privacy and accuracy.

Click to contact us if you've been the victim of a solar panel scam