It is part of the home improvement fraud-game, and cases where home and business owners are being cheated, are rising in frequency.
Victims are consumers who want to cut their energy bills using rooftop solar panels or windmills. Research and information can thwart these conmen.
How does the scam work?
There are reputable solar companies out there that will save you money, but scammers are also in the game, trying to lure unsuspecting clients into paying a huge deposit to a contractor that doesn’t deliver the system.
Some of these conmen vanish with the deposit; others (the majority) will deliver a bogus system that is incapable of delivering the services that were promised. It is the same type of fraud that happens when home improvement crooks visit a residence and promise to either fix the roof or install an effective alarm system and instead do fake work or supply products that do not work.
Before considering solar panels as an alternative energy source for your home, you should learn more about solar panels and the technology behind their use.
Also, try to understand, at least in general terms, how solar panel installation works and be present when the system is installed. Make sure to get a full demonstration of the working system before making final payment.
How to avoid the Solar Panels for Your Home scam
When it comes to solar panel installation fraud, learn how to distinguish the real companies from the scammers. Think about it. How much do you pay for your energy per year? How about for 10 years?
Those figures could guide your decision about whether there is a cost savings for you if you switch to solar panels sold by that particular company.
If you are looking into the solar panel option, get bids from at least three to four companies. Check with their past customers (ask for references), check their websites, Facebook pages and physical address (PO boxes alone are a red flag).
Call a landline to speak to the sales person you met regarding the system (cell phone numbers alone are also a red flag). Make sure you ask about solar system maintenance and servicing as well as warranties.
Needless to say, you should never pay the full price up front. Be suspicious of pressure to pay deposits that are nearly half of the entire invoiced amount or anyone asking for payment in cash.
Alternative energy is a new industry. That’s why questionable individuals might take advantage of the novelty and try to sell concepts and products that might not be legitimate.
Maybe before asking yourself ‘how much do solar panels cost?’ you should first look at the pros and cons of solar energy and evaluate if it’s the right thing to consider for your house.
Connect with home owners with solar systems installed, ask questions, look at the investment, and decide. You can also do the same thing if you are a business owner who is considering a commercial solar system.