By District Attorney Summer Stephan
Deciding to install solar panels is an important financial decision. If done improperly, the installation can damage your home leading to costly repairs. Many solar contractors are honest and reliable, but not always. Inevitably there are cheaters working the system and preying upon the unsuspecting. Sometimes they are rogue contractors, but mostly they are unlicensed fraudsters who cut corners or skip town with your money.
When considering solar, here’s how to prevent getting scammed:
Chose the Right Contractor for Your Job
Know your rights
You have rights during the sales process, which are meant to protect you from unscrupulous contractors.
Understand Your Options
Before you sign a contract, make sure you understand the type of solar installation you are getting, how your solar panels are being financed and what the overall cost will be. Be wary of any salesperson who says solar energy is free, government subsidized or that you will never pay an electricity bill again.
The most common types of solar financing options are:
Compare the different financing options and conduct your own research on the benefits and consequences of each before entering a contract. If you think you may want to sell or refinance your home later, be sure to understand how the options above could impact your ability to do so.
If you believe you have been scammed by a contractor, file a complaint with the Contractors State License Board.
As your District Attorney, I’m committed to increasing communication and accessibility between the DA’s Office and the public. I hope these consumer and public safety tips have been helpful. The DA’s Consumer Protection Unit is made up of Deputy District Attorneys, Investigators and Paralegals dedicated to protecting consumers and law abiding businesses from fraudulent or unfair business practices. To report a consumer complaint, you can call (619) 531-3507 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.