Watchdog Calls on Attorneys General in Arizona, Nevada, and New York to Investigate Rooftop Solar Industry After New Mexico Attorney General Files Lawsuit Against Vivint

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 24, 2018

Contact: Daniel Stevens, dstevens@campaignforaccountability.org, 202.780.5750

WASHINGTON – Today, Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a nonprofit watchdog group focused on public accountability, called on attorneys general in Arizona, Nevada, and New York to investigate rooftop solar companies with an emphasis on Vivint Solar. On March 8, New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas initiated legal action against Vivint – alleging systematic fraud, deceptive business practices and racketeering – suggesting solar companies are continuing to violate state consumer protection laws more than a year after CfA first called for investigations in other states.

Read CfA’s requests for investigation here.

CfA Executive Director Daniel E. Stevens stated, “CfA’s review of consumer complaints reveals a disturbing pattern of consumer abuse in the rooftop solar industry.  While the New Mexico Attorney General is serious about holding the industry’s bad actors accountable, residents in Arizona, Nevada, and New York are still vulnerable to the industry’s many bad actors. Attorneys General Brnovich, Laxalt, and Schneiderman should follow New Mexico’s lead and investigate whether these reprehensible practices are part of a larger pattern of deception.”

In the fall of 2016, CfA launched an investigation into the deceptive marketing practices of the rooftop solar industry and submitted open records requests in several states – including Arizona, Nevada and New York – to examine consumers’ concerns. The Nevada Attorney General’s office declined to provide CfA with consumer complaints, but complaints filed in Arizona and New York revealed rooftop solar companies misled consumers in the marketing and sale or lease of solar panels, in apparent violation of state consumer protection laws.

In New York, for example, consumers complained that Vivint Solar performed inadequate installations, failed to adequately explain the terms of its contracts, and charged customers for solar power while their panels were offline.

In a December 2017 report, CfA noted that consumers had filed more complaints against Vivint and SolarCity with the Federal Trade Commission than any other rooftop solar company. Other non-profits, including Public Citizen and the National Consumer Law Center, have also voiced concerns about rooftop solar companies.

Read more about CfA’s investigation of the solar industry here.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s lawsuit alleges that Vivint engaged in “unfair and unconscionable business” practices including clouding titles to consumers’ homes, fraud and racketeering.  The lawsuit also names the top corporate officers of the company and alleges that “the Vivint officers direct, control, approve, ratify, and actively participate in Vivint’s fraud.”

Stevens continued, “Consumers must have confidence that renewable energy is a legitimate way to lower their energy bills. Unfortunately, certain rooftop solar companies are giving would-be customers the impression that they cannot be trusted.  Law enforcement officials in Arizona, Nevada, and New York must take action to hold Vivint, or any rooftop solar company that has violated state law, accountable.”

Campaign for Accountability is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, nonpartisan watchdog organization that uses research, litigation and aggressive communications to expose misconduct and malfeasance in public life and hold those who act at the expense of the public good accountable for their actions.

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