ORLANDO, Fla. — More and more homeowners in Florida are turning to solar energy. It makes sense since we live in the sunshine state, but Action 9 found some solar companies aren’t always living up to their end of the bargain.
Virginia Dugan, who is in her 80′s liked the idea of leaving the world a better place and wanted to save money. So, she was interested when someone from Vision Solar knocked on her door back in 2021.
Dugan explained, “And he said, ‘Would you like to save money on your electricity?’ And I said, ‘Well, of course, I don’t know anybody that wouldn’t.’”
She signed up for solar panels on her main home in Daytona Beach and on her second home a few blocks away.
She said, “What really sold it to me was, he says, ‘And the government will give you $3,000 for switching over for to solar.’”
Dugan soon found out it wasn’t as great as she expected. She wasn’t eligible for the $3000 government incentive.
The panels were hooked up on her first home and they are working. Her electricity bills are lower, but she told Action 9 she’s breaking even with the payments she’s making on the panels.
Dugan wishes she could say the same about her second home. When Action 9 consumer investigator Jeff Deal met with her, she was still paying on those panels, too. But they never passed inspection, were never connected and despite soaking up the sun, they never produced any energy.
She claims Vision Solar promised to fix them several times.
“After a couple of months, maybe three and they just kept saying that they would be back and do that,” Dugan said.
It’s now been more than two years with useless panels. So, Action 9 stopped at the Vision Solar office in Orlando to try to get answers.
The man at the office asked the crew to step outside and had to contact someone out of state to try to get answers. He made it sound like this was a rare occurrence.
“We do thousands of installs, so one install off every now and then is handled by a legal department in Jersey,” he said.
But Vision Solar has an F Rating with the Better Business Bureau and hundreds of complaints. The Florida Attorney General’s office has around 170 complaints about Vision Solar, and it has launched an investigation.
The Attorney General in Connecticut has already sued Vision Solar for unfair and deceptive sales tactics, saying its predatory practices are worst they’ve seen.
A few months ago, the Federal Trade Commission took legal action against Vision Solar and a telemarketing partner for allegedly making false and misleading statements to consumers about energy savings and incentives.
Virginia Dugan said, “That’s a real waste of my good money. I’m still paying on those. Pretty frustrating.”
In a response to Action 9, Vision Solar’s chief marketing officer said he would look into Virginia Dugan’s case and that they’ve started a taskforce to expedite projects at a standstill, even if that means cancelling them.
After Action 9 started asking questions. Vision offered to help solve Dugan’s problems at the company’s cost. After she declined, Vision agreed to haul away her panels from the second home and cancel what she owes on them.
Vision’s marketing officer wrote as part of the statement: “We are working day and night on every project attached to these complaints. I personally, along with the company, take this very seriously.”
Here’s the full statement Vision Solar sent in response to our question about the number of complaints:
We are working day and night on every project attached to these complaints. I personally, along with the company, take this very seriously. I have created a task force internally by the name of Customer Success who spends each day ensuring that any customer who has a project at a stand still is expedited to resolution — even if that means project cancellation. My only intention is to make our customers happy and satisfy their needs to the best of our ability. That said, the vast majority of these complaints are at resolution or near resolution.
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