Connecticut Attorney General William Tong and Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle Seagull have issued an advisory to homeowners in the state to beware of deceptive marketing and high-pressure sales tactics by solar companies.
The alert follows a significant number of consumer complaints that have led to investigations into several solar companies regarding sales and marketing practices.
“Residential solar can help reduce electricity bills and reliance on fossil fuels to power our power grid, but consumers should proceed with caution. We have received numerous complaints about misleading marketing and high-pressure sales tactics from solar companies, and we have several ongoing investigations. Solar energy purchase or lease agreements are often long-term, complex and can be expensive. Any savings on the electricity bill vary from ‘household to household depending on many factors,” Tong said. “As electricity rates are high and we are all looking for ways to save money, consumers should never feel obliged to enter into a solar contract or any other major domestic project.”
Tong and Seagull warned consumers to pay close attention to a few key ideas when considering home solar power. Specifically, they need to determine if their home gets enough sun exposure to justify the investment in solar panels; whether their current roof will need to be replaced during the expected life of the solar panels; how tax credits and refunds work; the effect that solar panels can have on the value of their home; and how the sale of their home would be affected if solar panels were rented.
They also urged consumers, especially the elderly, to be aware of potential high-pressure sales tactics to sign them up for expensive long-term solar contracts.
“Solar power can be an attractive option for people looking to reduce their utility costs and carbon footprint, but we are hearing from a number of consumers that the deal they have been offered has proven to be too much. beautiful to be true,” Seagull said. “Consumers need to be careful when entering into a solar contract – research thoroughly, compare costs, understand if your home is suitable for rooftop solar and don’t allow yourself to be victimized by sales tactics at high pressure.”
Finally, they said consumers should make sure solar companies are properly licensed in Connecticut. Many solar companies outsource their marketing and installation to third parties.
Consumers who believe they have been harmed by the practices of a solar company should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office.