In 1/18/2017 I signed a contract to purchase and install an additional solar carport system by SolarTime based on the SolarTime estimate contract: "The monthly payment $164.71 for 144 months (12 years) zero interestm, free installation"
13302 Century Blvd, Garden Grove, CA 92843
800.700.2488 | gosolartime.com
CSLB CA 1005515 | Workers’ Comp PO# 9137129 | Liability PO# CIP262404
The installation completed by city approval on 3/15/2017. SolarTime still refuse to provide a written approval of Southern California Edition (SCE) and HomeDepot SolarCity. Due to LA Union bank changed, SolarTime did not provide the final solar loan and still searched for another bank. In June 2017, I transferred the house owner title to my son and go for travel. On 10/12/2017 my son singed a final Solar Loan for the above carport. The payment is $220.45/month for 144 months, not $164.71 as in the estimate contract.
Solar Time asked my son to pay 2.99% interest for the bank, no promotion. The cost becomes triple comparing to leasing ($220 vs $86). The $220 is a fixed amount even if no sun shine, rain, earthquake, fire, SCE shutdown /outage / ... It causes mortgage refinance more difficult due to increasing debt. Home owner takes all risk. The promotion/sale price of $ 23,718.24 (= $164.71 * 144) goes up to $31,743.32.
At the beginning, I told SolarTime that I am a senior retired and paying more than $164.71 will exceed my budget, that the cost will be more expensive than the leasing ($86.09 / month = $1033/12 on my current HomeDepot SolarCity leasing system), that I will not agree. I also sent several emails as written evidence to remind them to keep their promise for their adv. If adding interest, the original base charge must be reduced in order to make the final cost to be the same as stated in the estimate contract. However, SolarTime does not keep their promise.
I believe Solar Time misleads consumers on interest and promotion. Solar Time should refund 2.99% interest and any promotion to customers ($31,743.32 - $23,718.24 = $8,025.08) as well as provide written approval of SCE and HomeDepot SolarCity on the new solar carport system.
Here is how SolarTime lure customers into their trap:
1) They advertise monthly payment $164.71 for 12 years and the price of $26,515.00 that do not match with the monthly payment. The correct price is $ 23,718.24 (= $164.71 * 144). They use the word “Monthly Payment” to impress/mislead the customers. Customers will look at the monthly payment and think it comes from $26,515.00. Customers also be impressed by their advertisement of zero interest, free installation .... If someone carefully calculate for the different $23,718.24 they will be told it is promotion from $26,515.00, because they will pay on $164.71 monthly. The sale man will repeat “Your payment is $164.71”
2) After Customers agree with payment $164.71. They present a contract for $26,515.00 and avoid to talk about the monthly payment. Customer will think it is $164.71 for the price $26,515.00. Unfortunately, it is $26,515.00/144 = $184.13. Customers fall in their first trap by signing a contract of $26,515.00. They continue to repeat customers about “the MONTHLY PAYMENT” of $164.71. No one mention $184.13
3) They will install the solar system very quick even before signing a bank loan or contract. Customers feel happy because of their quickly installation. Still, they try to delay the final solar loan as long as a few months. Then they ask customers to pay for extra 2.99% solar interest that never seen in the contract before. Customers become surprised and un-happy, but it is difficult to deny/discover their tactics. How can customers remove the carport system that already installed? Customers forget about zero interest, free installation … It is really fraudulent and misleading advertisement. Who will choose the cost of $220 total risky of carport over the $86 safety of leasing?
SolarTime practices all of “False Misleading Advertisement” tactics: Bait & Switch Advertising, High-Pressure Sales Tactics, Deceptive Form Contracts, Artificially Inflating Prices, and Failure to Disclose
I want to file this report to alert other consumers. State and FTC (stated in the Law) have direct duty to investigate all False & Misleading Advertisement to protect public, other citizens, especially protect retired seniors who live on fixed income.
I also advise people to purchase Solar with big billion-dollar business company like Costco, or HomeDepot. They are educated in business law and always put customers satisfaction on top. Small business may disappear after a couple of years, and cannot keep their promise for warrantee maintenance 20 years .... My problem is HomeDepot SolarCity employee also work for another company (SolarTime) and tell me SolarCity will not put more panels on the current system.
-- SolarTime Contract highlight ---
*** Proposal Economics
System Cost $26,515.00
Estimated Rebate $0
Estimated Federal Tax Credit $7,954.50
Estimated Net System Cost $18,560.50
Estimated Year 1 Return1 $510.00
Estimated Net Savings Over 12 Years $6,120.00
Estimated Monthly Payment $164.71
*** What Is Included with Your Purchase?
Free monitoring service with mobile access for iPhone®, iPod®, iPad® and Android™
$0 Down payment.
0% Interest rate.
Get 30% TAX Credits + Local Rebate up to 30% or more.
Fixed rate; Fixed term loans.
No fees or Pre-payment penalties.
*** The above advertisement make customers to believe and rely on SolarTime promotion/sale for the final cost: $164.71 * 144 = $ 23,718.24
3.3 Customer shall not commence parallel operation of the Generating Facility until written approval has been provided to it by SCE. SCE shall normally provide such written approval no later than 30 business days following SCE’s receipt of 1) a completed Net Energy Metering Application including all supporting documents and required payments, 2) a completed signed Net Energy Metering Interconnection Agreement, and 3) evidence of the Application’s final electric inspection clearance from the Governmental Authority having jurisdiction over the Generating Facility. If the 30-day period cannot be met, SCE shall notify Applicant and the Commission of the reason for the inability to process the interconnection request and the expected completion date.
3.4 SCE shall have the right to have its representatives present at the final inspection made by the governmental authority having jurisdiction to inspect and approve the installation of the Generating Facility.
3.5 Customer shall not add generation capacity in excess of the Nameplate Rating set forth in Section 2.7 of this Agreement, or otherwise modify the Generating Facility without the prior written permission of SCE.☛ SCE require a written approval pdf
(f) You agree that you will not make any modifications, improvements, revisions or additions to the System or take any other action that could void the Limited Warranty on the System without SolarCity’s prior written consent. If you make any modifications, improvements, revisions or additions to the System, they will become part of the System and shall be SolarCity’s property.☛ SolarCity_approval_request.pdf
False and Misleading Advertising Law
“… ‘Free’ Businesses should be particularly careful of the use of the word ‘free’. The idea of getting goods or services without charge can create keen interest in consumers. Consumers will usually think of ‘free’ as absolutely free - a justifiable expectation. Simply put, businesses may get into trouble with free offers if they do not reveal the complete truth, including any conditions that the consumer must comply with. ..”
Bait & Switch Advertising
High-Pressure Sales Tactics
Deceptive Form Contracts
Artificially Inflating Prices
Failure to Disclose
It is illegal for a business to engage in conduct that misleads or deceives or is likely to mislead or deceive consumers or other businesses. This law applies even if you did not intend to mislead or deceive anyone or no one has suffered any loss or damage as a result of your conduct.
In the United States, the federal government regulates advertising through the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and additionally enables private litigation through various statutes, most significantly the Lanham Act (trademark and unfair competition)....
10/24/2017 FTC stated: . . . When the FTC finds a case of fraud perpetrated on consumers, the agency files actions in federal district court for immediate and permanent orders to stop scams; prevent fraudsters from perpetrating scams in the future; freeze their assets; and get compensation for victims.....
".. . Complaints from consumers help us detect patterns of fraud and abuse. The FTC would like to know about your complaint and the Complaint Assistant will help guide you...... "
[For the benefit of the orthers, you should alert to all Government level: City, County, State, FTC ... Social Media is the best .... If you want to go Small Court, be careful, judge (also another human being) will follow Government ... and Gov employee may ignore your problem or ask you a lot of question that make victims feel bad ... I had been a State Employee for 6 years .... Do not rely totally on Government. In fact Gov. employees work on the problem, not Gov. nor the Law, and they are human beings, not saint nor angel (Social communists fail for this). Here is how California Justice works: http://tranlich.com/toyota/ ]
Under California law, test of unfair competition is whether there is likely to be deception of public, that is, whether there has been palming off defendant's goods as those of plaintiff....
Contracts false misleading : Written: 4 yrs. §337; Oral: 2 yrs. Civ. Proc. §339
Statutes of limitations ensure an offending party in any legal dispute is aware that he or she committed or may be accused of committing some wrong against another party. At the same time, the wronged party must decide whether to press a lawsuit in order to recover for his or her wrong. After enough time has passed, the chance to sue disappears.