How to Stop Solar Spam Calls (Updated 2018)
Identifying a spam caller seems like common sense, but a lot of people fall for scam / spam calls every day.
In the solar industry, many telemarketers employ certain tactics to get an impulse reaction out of you. Some of these tactics include:
Any mention of a sweepstakes or raffle: that you’ve been specially selected or won a free solar system / free panels. The saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, it probably is.” A lot of American solar call companies are notorious for offering too good to be true deals upfront only to disappoint the customer when the system wasn’t actually free.
Posing as an electricity utility company or government associate: I myself have received many of these calls. Telemarketers will use phony names that sound legit in order to trick consumers, such as Go Green Energy Center, Utah Public Utilities Commission, California Public Utilities Commission, CA Green Energy Center, etc.
Most of the time they will try to schedule a free energy audit, in-person free solar consultation or some sort of an inspection. There have been reports of falling for this trick and have a salesperson dressed up as a utility representative showing up at your door to conduct an audit or inspection.
If one of these utility representatives show up at your door, ask for a company ID to ensure they are legitimate. Also verify they arrived in a legitimate energy utility company vehicle is also a good way to distinguish real or fake. One of common scams is that one of the imposters will distract the customer while the other steals cash and valuables.
According to SDGE’s website the energy company will never proactively contact customers to get their credit card or financial information over the phone. Even if you have a past-due balance that needs to be paid, they will send past-due notices in writing before shutting off service. Also, scammers may utilize text messaging and mobile apps to demand or collect payment. Mobile payment apps are a way to trick distracted customers to submit payment for “fake bills.”
Time sensitive “deals”: Some companies will offer a “limited time offer” or only valid for this call only types of deals. These are used to get an impulse buy from the customer to secure the deal. Some companies have been known to say that you will not be eligible for rebates or tax credits if you do not sign with them.
To clarify, the Federal Investment Tax Credit is still at its maximum 30% throughout 2019 before it steps down to 26% in 2020. While it is economically smarter to go solar sooner than later, you still have throughout 2019 to get the maximum tax credit for going solar.
When getting solar, similar to choosing a vehicle off a car lot you should implement research to help make an educated decision. Utilizing google searches, solar review sites, and word of mouth will help you find out how many reviews the company has, the quality of their reviews, and how long the company has been in business for. Doing these steps ahead of time will help you save money and a huge headache down the road.