New Mexico Attorney General Files Fraud Lawsuit Against Vivint Solar

April 5, 2018 7:12 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas recently filed a 17-count civil complaint against Vivint Solar, a company based in Utah. The lawsuit includes allegations of fraud, racketeering and unfair business practices.

A press release issued by the Attorney General’s office indicated that an investigation conducted by the office led to the discovery of evidence that actions by Vivint in New Mexico led to “hundreds of clouded titles” to residents’ homes. The investigation also uncovered evidence that the company uses a variety of high-pressure sales techniques and strategies purposefully intended to mislead customers and lock them into 20-year contracts, during which rates will increase by a whopping 72 percent or more through the agreement’s lifespan.

For its part, Vivint Solar released the following statement:

“Much of the interest in this lawsuit has been driven by this press release that not only misrepresents Vivint Solar’s dealings with consumers in the state, but also does not accurately describe the attorney general’s own allegations in the disputed lawsuit. It was also issued before the lawsuit was filed, giving Vivint Solar little time to respond.

“To be clear, Vivint Solar does not, has not, will not and cannot ever jeopardize its customers’ home ownership. Vivint Solar does not take a lien on its customers’ homes under its purchase power agreements or solar system lease agreements. A (purchase power agreement) is commonly used throughout the residential solar industry as a means of providing consumers with access to clean, affordable energy with no upfront investment by the customer; in exchange, the customer agrees to pay for all energy produced by the solar energy system.”

An issue to watch

This isn’t the first time Vivint has been the subject of some controversy in the news. In an opinion piece published in The Hill in December, it was noticed by a representative from the Campaign for Accountability that Vivint and SolarCity, a company owned by Elon Musk, account for the majority of complaints filed with the Federal Trade Commission about solar companies. The two combine for about 56 percent of all complaints filed about solar companies, including being tricked into leasing or buying solar panels and having higher energy bills instead of the promised savings.

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office received seven complaints since 2016 about the company, and some earlier complaints went through informal resolution processes through the New Mexico Consumer and Family Services Division.

Stock prices for Vivint Solar have collapsed within the last couple years, for reasons not primarily related to this large-scale complaint.

It remains to be seen what consequences Vivint Solar could face in the lawsuit, but if found guilty of this wrongdoing it will likely have to pay out a significant amount of money in penalties and damages.

Keep up to date with everything happening on the solar industry by following us here at Experienced Solar. For more information about the solar power options we have available and the benefits of going solar at your home or business, contact our solar contractors in Albuquerque, NM today.

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