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 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 panel sales. Forged signatures and unlawful access to credit reports may just be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to solar panel scams.

How solar panel 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 New Mexico, the state accused Vivint Solar of using deceptive business practices by tying consumers into 20-year contracts that forced them to buy the electricity produced by the panels at exorbitant rates.

The attorney general said the company’s sale model allowed 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 Solar.

And it’s not just Vivint.  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.

Good questions to ask before signing a solar contract

  • 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?

LEGAL HELP – Solar Panel Scam Victims

Flitter Milz, P.C. is a consumer protection law firm that has pursued matters for consumers around the country against solar panel companies fraudulent sales tactics. Whether a solar panel company has forged your signature, wasn’t upfront about the terms of its contract, or obtained your credit report without your permission, we can provide a legal evaluation at no cost. 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?

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

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

Fraudulent Sales Tactics

Often, the consumer may be misled in to believing that the salesman works for his or 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.

Signing an iPad without seeing the Contract

To gain access to your property, the salesman may request your signature on a tablet or iPad.  Your signature may be used to commit you to a long term contract.  Or, unknowingly, your signature may provide permission for the solar panel company to obtain a copy of your credit report.

Credit Reports Obtained without Consent

The law requires that a company have a permissible purpose to obtain your credit report.  A consumer that seeks credit will be asked for permission to have his or her credit file reviewed.

Unless the consumer provides written consent for access to his or her credit file, the company is not permitted to obtain a copy of the credit report. 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 Solar Panel Fraud Victims

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that has pursued matters for consumers around the country against solar panel companies fraudulent sales tactics.  Whether a solar panel company has forged your signature, wasn’t upfront about the terms of its contract, or obtained your credit report without permission, we can provide a legal evaluation of your matter at no cost.  Contact us today to learn more.

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