CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Solar panels are a way homeowners can save on electricity cost and energy however, don’t fall victim to schemes being offered by con artists.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), homeowners have reported salespeople pretending to be solar company representatives offering “free solar panels” in order to gain personal information and money.

One report sent to the BBB Scam Tracker said a homeowner was approached by a door-to-door salesperson “claiming he could get me a new roof plus solar equipment, with a government rebate for 26% off cost, essentially paying for the new roof.” The homeowner said after they did some research, there is a government rebate program however, the salesperson misrepresented it to make a sale.

In another report, during a phone call from a “solar engineer” after being approached in person, “The engineer claimed they could make it cost-free for us. He said they had finished their installations in our neighborhood and met their quota but would try to squeeze us in.” Once the homeowner declined to give out personal information, the conversation took a strange turn, “We ended the conversation, and I received a nasty text… It was completely unprofessional.”

One other homeowner reported, “Scammer used printed notes left at front doors, pretended to represent freedom forever solar company. A call to the company revealed that person was not one of their employees, and they don’t send representatives going door to door. Contact info on printed note: Kayla McIver, 520-651-7584, asked to be contacted by phone or text message.”

Tips to avoid solar panel schemes from BBB:

  • Do your research. Genuine incentive programs and reputable solar energy contractors do exist. Before you accept an unsolicited offer, do some research on solar companies in your area. Investigate each company’s reputation and business practices before signing a service contract.
  • Don’t give in to high-pressure sales tactics. Con artists want to provoke an emotional reaction that would cause you to give in to their requests without thinking it through. Take your time; know that a legitimate company won’t pressure you to act. If someone uses aggressive sales tactics on you, it’s best to cut off communication immediately.
  • Get competing bids. Contact several solar installers if you plan on going solar and get bids from each company. If someone is pulling a con, they will be much easier to spot this way.
  • Ask plenty of questions and consider the answers. Ask questions about any aspect of a contract or proposal you don’t understand. If the company gets upset about your questions, refuses to answer them, or is vague with their answers, consider it a red flag.

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