This Solar Startup Spent Big, Then Left Customers In Limbo

By: Tony Schick, OPB, March 14, 2018

Ali Amhaz left Las Vegas on his black Honda motorcycle and rode for Utah. He wanted his $28,000 back.

A month earlier he’d signed up with Legend Solar to put some panels on the roof of his house.

But Amhaz found some unsettling online reviews after making his deposit. He canceled in time to qualify for a full refund. He said he was promised a check that never arrived, and no one at Legend Solar could tell him why.

So, after unsuccessful phone calls, he hopped on his bike and drove a hundred miles through the desert last November in search of answers at the company’s St. George, Utah, headquarters.

“Lights are shut off, there’s barely anybody there,” said Amhaz, a contractor who lived in Banks, Oregon, before relocating to Las Vegas.

Last year, a group called the Campaign For Accountability reviewed more than 1,200 complaints released by the FTC and found “a widespread pattern of apparent fraud and abuse by solar companies.”

It also found hundreds of consumer complaints when looking into California, Florida, Texas and Oregon. Two companies — SolarCity and Vivint Solar — generated more than half of all complaints.

“We all support reducing our carbon footprint, and what better way to do that than install solar panels. But because it’s so lightly regulated and it has this great reputation, there’s a lot of bad actors in the industry who get away with some of these bad practices,” said Daniel Stevens, executive director of the Campaign For Accountability.

The group asked Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum to investigate rooftop solar in Oregon, citing a high number of consumer complaints and singling out SolarCity.

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