By Amy Davis
A lot of Houston residents have seen the ads that say that they may qualify for free solar panels. When one elderly Houston couple realized they had been duped into paying tens of thousands of dollars for these so-called free panels, they called KPRC 2 Investigator Amy Davis.
Bernard Mosley, 82, and his wife Tasa, 75, live on a budget in retirement, so when a roofing contracter pitched solar panels to them in December, Mosley initially declined.
Mosley said, “I told him we didn’t have money to purchase the item. He said there was a government grant that wouldn’t cost us anything.”.
When Mosley invited the man inside, his colleague, a woman from Solar Bros, asked if she owned her home. Mosley replied yes.
“Oh, a government grant will cover everything,” she replied.
“Did she explain why the government would want to provide you with free solar panels?” Amy Davis asks.
“She said it was a test. The government was checking the solar panels’ productivity, etc.,” Mosley said.
According to the Mosleys, the salesperson promised them lower electric bills in exchange. The couple signed one document that day, and then another that just required an initial.
After the Mosley’s first meeting, they were never able to reach the helpful salesperson again after the permits and paperwork were posted on their home.
Tasa Mosley said, “She always had an excuse for everything.”.
Mosley was told by text that the salesperson was:
When it comes to court…
After that, she got COVID…
After that, all communication ceased.
The couple got a notice from Sunrun stating their account was past due, and they now owe late fees.
Mosley said, “I called and asked for a copy of the contract.”.
Tasa Mosley’s electronic signature was printed throughout the 40 pages of the contract when they finally received it.
According to the payment schedule, the Mosley’s could pay $38,000 in full or pay monthly over 25 years. The Mosleys would have paid more than $67,000 by the time Bernard is 107 years old.
My first thought was, “Oh my God. They’re sending us these bills. What happens if we don’t pay them? Can they take our house?””
I appreciate your question.
According to a spokesperson for Sunrun, based in San Francisco, the salesperson who knocked on the Mosley’s door was an employee of a company called Solar Bros. All of Solar Bros’ salespeople are independent contractors and sell solar for multiple businesses.
A few days later, Sunrun offered to remove the solar panels from the Mosleys’ home, repair their roof, and void their contract. Solar Bros fired the salesperson for fraud unrelated to the Mosleys.
“I hope other people see this and realize they need to be extremely careful when purchasing anything, let alone solar systems,” Bernard Mosley said.
The sales representative now sells solar for another company in Houston. There are no government grants that will cover the cost of solar panels at the state or federal levels.
Additionally, Sunrun has been sued in multiple states, including Texas and California, for misleading consumers about the benefits of solar panels.
The Ask Amy episode from this week has five other things you need to know before buying solar panels.