Avoiding Scam Attempts in the Solar Power World

While we truly wish it were not the case, solar panels and their related systems have become so popular and common in today's society that they've given rise to an ugly trend: Scammers. Con artists have begun attempting to pull the wool over the eyes of unsuspecting people, most of whom have very little knowledge in the solar realm and may be viewed as prime targets for this reason.

At Intermountain Wind & Solar, we've strived for years to build up a reputation as an honest, straightforward solar panel and system supplier. We offer a wide range of both commercial and residential solar panel solutions, with a long history of satisfied customers who can attest to our honesty in business. Not only that, but we're here to help steer others clear of these dishonest scam attempts -- here are some of the top themes to watch out for and/or avoid to be sure you don't get conned while you're looking at your solar options.

Never Sign Anything Immediately

One of the top tactics solar scammers may use to take advantage of you is rushing you into signing a contract immediately. They may try to convince you that there's some sort of "limited time" offer or deal, but don't fall for it -- hang back and give yourself some time to look over everything before you sign anything.

If the solar contractor tries this tactic, be wary! If they're really trying to impress you, they'll be willing to give you a whole week or longer to go over the contract details. Don't let anyone rush you into signing anything before doing your due diligence! Research should include multiple forms of comparison-shopping (including asking around if you're unsure about your solar installer's trustworthiness).

Don't Agree to Work Without a Contract

On the flip side, some scammers may try to pull the wool over your eyes by merely suggesting a work arrangement instead of signing a formal contract. If anyone tries to pressure you into working without a concrete, written agreement from the very beginning, be sure to steer clear!

When there's nothing but a work arrangement or verbal agreement in place, you're exposed to a high level of risk. If anything goes wrong, you may not have any legal recourse for holding the other party responsible. While there are some exceptions to this rule -- for example, trades or services provided by friends or family members without compensation -- in most cases, your best bet is always to sign a written contract that clearly states all terms and conditions.

Ask Questions and Get References

You should never blindly trust the word of any business or individual; this is especially true when it comes to solar. Even if the entity seems friendly and straightforward, it's vital to do your research before signing any contract.

This means you should ask about their business history, including their track record for providing quality service -- have they developed a good reputation for being reliable and trustworthy? Don't be afraid to ask if you can contact past customers to hear what they think of the solar installer; even though some businesses may balk at this request, a truly professional and trustworthy company will be more than happy to give you contact information for customers who can vouch for them.

Another smart move is to get in touch with your state's consumer affairs bureau or department of commerce. They'll often have records of complaints lodged against certain companies, which you may find useful when making your final decision.

Avoid Shady Door-to-Door Solicitors

One of the most common scams out there may involve a shady door-to-door salesman. In recent cases, scammers have been posing as solar panel technicians or installers in order to get access to homeowners' homes. Once inside, they've claimed that shoddy wiring or faulty appliances are to blame for the homeowner's massively high energy bills, and they offer a bogus solution.

In these scams, the "solar technicians" may try to get you to sign confusing contracts or agreements -- never sign anything when there isn't a solid contract in place! If you're even slightly unsure about the qualifications of a given professional, ask for ID and independently check whether they actually work with your chosen company.

Warranties Guaranteed

Does the solar panel "professional" you're speaking to refuse to guarantee you warranty coverage within your contract when you're ready to sign? Of course, there are always exceptions. However, if you're being offered a warranty that's not written into the contract or agreement -- and especially if they make a point of mentioning it as a big selling point -- this is a major red flag!

Don't be fooled by promises. The best solar panels will come with solid, written warranty protection at no extra cost.

Do Your Own Research On Tax Benefits

While it's absolutely true that solar panel installation often comes with major tax benefits, some scammers will attempt to overstate this fact. They'll promise you the moon and more when it comes to your tax benefits -- the only issue being that, in some cases, they'll simply be lying to try and get you to sign up.

Rather than take their word for it, do your own research on what types of tax benefits you may qualify for. You can easily check whether the installer in question is being honest or not by asking them to provide documentation showing how much money you'll save in taxes over a given time period.

For more on how to avoid potential scams within the solar panel world, or to learn about any of our reputable solar power services, speak to the staff at Intermountain Wind & Solar today.

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