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Seven Tips to Avoid Door-to-Door Solar Sales Scams

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How To Spot A Solar Sales Scam

As a consumer, it’s important to be vigilant and aware of potential energy scams, especially when dealing with door-to-door solar sales. One common tactic is a well-dressed person with a badge claiming to be a representative of your energy company. However, mistakes in identifying scams can cost thousands of dollars and result in time-consuming efforts to fix the situation. Stay protected with our guide: Seven Tips to Avoid Door-to-Door Solar Sales Scams.(Look for our other blogs to find out more on residential solar panel cost in Arizona or the process of our solar panel installation.)

Unfortunately, the extent of door-to-door energy scamming is difficult to measure as many victims may not even realize they’ve been scammed or may be too embarrassed to report it. However, evidence of a national problem does exist. In 2015, a New York State Public Service Commission investigation led to over 1,500 consumers receiving refunds of almost a million dollars from a large energy supplier due to predatory sales practices and unexpected price hikes.

AARP has warned its members about energy scams, and the fact that energy trade associations have designated a day specifically to raise awareness of these scams further illustrates the scope of the problem. Recently, In Arizona, California, Texas, and Florida the utilities have alerted its customer’s scammers going door-to-door and threatening to shut off the power without immediate payments. Stay informed and be cautious to avoid falling victim to these scams, especially when considering residential solar panel cost in Arizona and ensuring proper Solar Panel Installation and solar installation.

What could go wrong with a door-to-door solar salesperson at your door right? A LOT!

At PEP Solar, we urge you to consider the motivations of door-to-door energy salespeople. Job postings on sites like Indeed.com advertise commission-based salaries ranging from $50,000 to $200,000, creating a tempting incentive for unscrupulous salespeople to engage in deceptive practices.

Save Now, Then You Find Out You Saved Nothing Later

Imagine this: you’re at home minding your own business when suddenly there’s a knock at the door. You answer it to find a person standing there, trying to sell you a deal on electricity per kilowatt hour. They urge you to sign on the spot to receive a much lower rate, but something about the situation seems off.

As it turns out, this sales tactic is insidious. The offer might actually give you a lower rate initially, but it’s only for a short three-month period. After that, you’ll be locked into a much higher default rate with the supplier. The salesperson’s urgency is meant to discourage you from taking the time to read and fully understand the terms of the deal. And when we say deal we mean it’s just a proposal but they haven’t even shown you the contract yet and if they do it is met with statements like, “it’s all boilerplate” or the other contracts are complex, and “ours are simplified”. If the contract is simple, be careful and take your time.

This happened to us once, and it was a lesson learned. We quickly realized that the salesperson wasn’t necessarily lying, but they were definitely manipulating us. We were lucky to have caught on before signing anything.

Wham, Bam, Cram, Scam

You might encounter a polite and well-dressed young man who claims to be from your electric company and requests to see your recent bill to resolve an issue with your account. However, what he really wants is to get ahold of your account number, which is all he needs to switch your supplier (not in Arizona since we are not deregulated) without your knowledge or consent. This deceptive practice is called “slamming,” and it can go unnoticed unless you carefully review your next bill.

We came across a forum that shared their experience with a deceitful energy salesperson. The salesperson had a binder with their company’s logo and stated that there was an issue with the user’s bill. Despite the user’s requests for documentation or for the salesperson to leave, he persisted and eventually managed to see the user’s bill before being kicked out of the house.

This issue isn’t exclusive to homeowners as businesses are also susceptible to these tactics when salespeople approach their employees. Therefore, it’s essential for business owners to educate their staff to watch out for these scams.

How To Know Who You Can Trust

PEP Solar advises customers to ask for a business card to ensure that they are dealing with a genuine representative and then for their contractor’s license. If they do not have a contractor’s license, make sure the salesperson is associated with a company by calling the installation contractor. On the other hand, Salt River Project based in Phoenix Arizona, Arizona Public Service based in Phoenix Arizona, and Tucson Electric Provider based in Tucson Arizona, all have clear photo name badges, vendor ID numbers, and agent ID numbers to identify their agents. They also offer a phone number that people can call to verify an agent’s status, ensuring transparency for their customers.

Steps You Can Take To Avoid Solar Sales Scams

It’s important to keep in mind that not all door-to-door energy salespeople are fraudulent, and there are instances where they may have a genuine offer for you. However, many individuals may choose not to interact with them as a way to prevent being deceived. Ultimately, being cautious and informed is key when considering any sales pitch, including those made by door-to-door salespeople.

How can you avoid a door-to-door solar sales scam? When you open the door, follow these simple tips:

  • It is important to know the salesperson’s affiliation. Do not assume that a salesperson is representing a company just because they are wearing clothing or carrying a clipboard with the company’s logo. Ask to see their identification and proof of employment by an energy company to confirm their affiliation.
  • Protect your personal information, which includes more than just your Social Security, bank account, and credit/debit card numbers. Do not show any door-to-door salesperson your energy bill, as it contains your utility account number.
  • Be familiar with your current energy providers to avoid giving out information that door-to-door salespeople might request. It is also helpful to know the rate you’re paying for electricity or natural gas, which can be found on your bill.
  • Understand your state’s cooling off period policy. In some states, such as Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas, consumers have up to three days to cancel purchases without penalty when you sign the contract at home such as Esign.
  • Pay attention to the details of an energy contract, such as the rate, duration, and potential fees (including cancellation fees). It is important to understand what will happen when the contract ends.
  • Stay informed about local news and whether there are any reports of energy scammers operating in your area. You can use the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker to learn more about potential scams – Thank you BBB you Rock.
  • Do not be ashamed to report a potential scam. If you believe you have been a victim of a door-to-door energy scam, call your energy provider, the local police, and file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.

We want to make sure our customers feel comfortable and happy when talking to our sales representatives. If at any point during the conversation, you feel a little overwhelmed, don’t worry! You have every right to hit the “pause button” and kindly ask our representative to step back and give you some space.

We believe in informed and thoughtful decision-making, so take your time to consider all options before making a choice. Remember, you’re in charge here, and we want you to feel confident and happy with your decision. So sit back, relax, and let’s chat about what we can do for you!