Watchdog calls on FTC to investigate residential solar power industry
Campaign for Accountability asked the Bureau of Consumer Protection at the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to open an investigation into companies that offer residential solar panels.
A review of consumer complaints filed with FTC reveals many of these companies have engaged in false and misleading acts in the marketing and sale or lease of solar panels, in apparent violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
CfA Executive Director Daniel Stevens said, “Solar companies are using misleading sales practices to trick homeowners into buying or leasing solar panels. The FTC has recognized the problem, but has yet to act. The FTC should open an investigation and hold companies that violate the law accountable.”
Last summer, the FTC hosted a public workshop about consumer protection issues in solar energy. Representatives from Consumers Union and the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, among others, recounted emerging problems such as contracts that contain confusing wording about energy tax credits, consumers unable to sell or buy homes that have solar panels installed, and false promises of savings on utility bills.
Following the conference, watchdog Public Citizen submitted comments to the FTC urging the commission to ban arbitration clauses in solar contracts. The National Consumer Law Center submitted comments to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau noting “extensive complaints of false claims as to the savings with such panels and the terms of the leases.”
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