The Pro's and Con's of
If you have been researching ideas for lowering your monthly fuel expenses or for implementing a greener way of powering your home, chances are you have seen the ads “cheap solar panels for sale” and “buy cheap solar panels now." Keep in mind, as you browse through offers and information, that if something seems to good to be true, it probably is.
The Solar Energy Salesman Scam
In many areas of the country salesman claiming to be representatives of solar energy companies have been canvassing neighborhoods. They have a knack for preying on those people who are truly concerned about saving the environment. One way they have done this is to sign people up for a solar energy installation. They charge an up-front fee, but promise that “in the end your cost will be nothing”. Because many consumers are aware that Federal and local government agencies have been offering incentives to home-owners who choose to install solar energy, a large number of intelligent and informed individuals have been taken in by this scam.
After the checks are written and the “solar panels” have been installed, the scam artists disappear leaving the home-owner with nothing of value. Not only do the consumers never get a rebate or incentive check to help recoup their investment, in most cases the solar panels do not work, and never provide a single watt of energy.
Avoid this scam by closing the door on door to door salesmen. If you are looking for someone to install solar panels at your home or place of business, investigate your options. Take the initiative to find a company that is right for you.
Solar scam artists don't have to be door to door salesmen. As with many scams, telephone calls to home-owners, the kind of calls which focus on “once in a lifetime” offers or “too good to be true” deals and sales events, pave the way for disreputable sales people to “meet with the home-owner”. Once in the door, victim's of this type of scam are sold faulty equipment or promised rebate checks by marketing reps from non-existent companies.
Beware of Lead Generating Materials
Those ads you see on web pages, while you are searching for information about solar panels, can actually provide the next solar energy scam artist with your name and address. Most of these ads promise you free estimates, or encourage you to “speak to a solar energy rep” over the telephone. The ads prompt you to enter personal information, such as name, address, telephone number and more.
Another way that scam artists can find out about you is through contest entries and mail-in inquiries. Contests, such as “Win free solar energy” or “Win free home solar panel installation” are a good way for fraudulent salesmen to find out more about you. The contest entry form will usually ask for you name, address and phone number. If you fill out one of these type of entries, whether on-line or one that is delivered to your mail-box, you may be setting yourself up to be the next target.
The same is true of mail-in inquiries. These are the small “cut out and send back” boxes you see in newspapers and other publications. They also show up as inserts in local print media.
Don't Get Scammed
If you are considering installing a solar energy system in your home, thoroughly research any company that you are considering doing business with. How long has the company been in business? Can they provide references from previous costumers? Do they use high pressure sales tactics, or make offers that seem too good to be true? By taking precautions, whether you are dealing with someone face to face, over the phone or over the internet, you can help to protect yourself and your home from the latest line of scam artists looking to line their wallets.
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