New York Solar Panel Scam Lawyer
Finding ways to go green and reduce your carbon footprint is a good way to save money and the planet at the same time. One way to do this is by installing alternative energy sources, such as solar panels, on your roof.
However, some of the companies selling these panels have been defrauding their customers. Solar panel scammers may be misleading consumers into signing away their rights, pulling their credit reports without their permission, or locking them into contracts that sell solar energy at astronomical rates.
A New York solar panel scam lawyer can help consumers who suspect they have been the victim of a solar panel scam, an unfair business practice that affects thousands of homeowners every year. Schlanger Law Group LLP’s practice is focused on representing consumers who have been victimized by unfair and deceptive business practices, including predatory solar panel sales and financing practices.
How Solar Panel Companies May Commit Fraud
There are multiple solar panel companies operating in New York, and the solar panel business is booming. Companies such as Vivint Solar and SunPower rely on aggressive marketing to meet their profit marks. Many homeowners first encounter solar panel companies through a salesman knocking on their door. These salesmen can use deceptive practices to obtain a person’s credit history or lock them into a long-term energy contract.
Many of these practices are illegal and constitute unfair business practices under New York law. Consumers who have noticed unexpected marks on their credit reports after these visits or have unwittingly entered contracts are protected by a variety of state and federal consumer protection statutes that guard against deceptive door to door sales practices, unfair rent-to-own arrangements, failure to disclose the costs of leasing and financing, identity theft, inaccurate credit reporting, and a range of other fraudulent practices that plague the solar panel sales industry. When a solar panel company has taken advantage of you a New York solar scam attorney can help evaluate your rights.
Legal Options Following an Unfair Business Practice
Solar Panel companies and other businesses that engage in predatory conduct involving consumer contracts often take the position that “you signed it” so there is “nothing any of us can do”.
That isn’t true.
The consumer protection laws in New York combine with federal laws to give consumers experiencing solar company abuse powerful remedies:
For example, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that companies offering to finance only pull a person’s credit with the consumer’s permission. Many solar companies use the tactic of asking for a quick signature on an iPad or other device without properly informing the customer of what they are signing for. This is a clear violation of the FCRA, and consumers can demand compensation to repair the negative effects on their credit report. Click here for more information about signature pad fraud – an issue that Schlanger Law Group regularly litigates.
The federal Consumer Leasing Act, which is a subsection of the Truth In Lending Act, also provides powerful protection, particularly with regard to the disclosures a consumer must receive at the time any contract is entered into.
New York’s state laws also provide useful protections:
Under New York Consolidated Law, General Business Law, §349, it is unlawful for any business to commit a deceptive act or practice in the conduct of any commerce. New York General Business Law (GBL) §349-D requires those selling energy services to properly identify themselves, explain the purpose of the solicitation, provide the consumer with their “ESCO consumers bill of rights”, and explain that they do not work for a utility company.
New York also has powerful protections with regard to “rent-to-own” transactions and New York’s state law version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act has provisions covering identity theft.
These statutes provide for a variety of different remedies depending on which applies, the nature of the violation, etc., including statutory damages, actual damages, punitive and treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs. A New York consumer attorney can evaluate the actions of solar panel salespeople to determine if a victim is entitled to relief.
Let a New York Solar Panel Scam Lawyer Help to Set Things Right
Roof-based solar panels are a major player in the new American energy market. With the competition in this sector being stiff, some companies have chosen to disregard the laws regarding fair credit reporting, lease and rent-to-own disclosures, and unfair business practices more generally.
A New York solar panel scam lawyer can help consumers hold companies liable for their shady alternative energy practices and credit abuse. Call Schlanger Law Group LLP to discuss your situation today.