In the past few years, there have been growing solar repair scams targeting seniors. The average fraudulent transaction cost for a senior individual is $120,000. It’s sad and unacceptable, but understanding the types of scams can help.
Up to 5 million seniors in the United States are abused every year in some way, financial exploitation is one of the forms of such abuse and involves misuse or withholding of the adult’s resources.
A quick search can tell you all about the solar scams targeting seniors so that you can be careful if you know a senior citizen. It’s wise to familiarize yourself with such scams as you could be saving someone who falls into such traps.
Types of Solar Scams
Understanding the types of solar scams can help you in keeping scammers at bay.
You might encounter the following types of scams:
1. High-Pressure Sales Tactics
The salesperson would try to pressure you. You would be offered deals that are just for today. This scammer would try to grab your attention by putting pressure of urgency on you. You can always ask to wait as you want to research before signing on for such a big decision.
2. The Company Disappears After Installation
A solar company can get the work done, but it would be of poor quality. When you would try to find the company for complaints, it won’t be anywhere! You must hire a company only after thorough research.
You have to check the customer reviews to know about the performance of the company. Plus, reviews from previous users would also provide you enough insight.
3. You Are Asked to Lease The Solar Panels
When you can easily buy, a shady company would persuade you to lease the solar panels. You should be aware of the benefits of buying such as receiving the tax credits. Plus, if you want to get a better property value, it would be a viable option to buy solar panels instead of leasing them.
4. You Are Working Without Contracts
A shady company would try to avoid contracts. When you are not signing the contracts, the company might charge you higher. So if you don’t expect to pay higher bills then it’s best to work with professionals only.
A professional company would be clear and transparent in the dealings. Your permission is important to begin any kind of work. No one can try to install a solar panel without your permission. Let the salesperson know about it so that you can avoid getting scammed.
5. You Are Offered A Free Government Sponsored Program
You might be feeling generous and when someone shows up at your door for saving the environment, you couldn’t say no. Plus, how can you turn up a government-sponsored program and that’s free of charge.
Well, that was a scam and you didn’t know about it. Although it could be hard to refuse such an offer, it would lead to trouble especially for the elderly. The scammers would try to take benefit of the elderly who are suffering from dementia or are under chronic health conditions.
How Senior Citizens Can Protect from The Solar Scams
The senior citizens need to take their time to read the documents presented for signing. If it’s hard to understand the documents, it’s best to let someone you trust read the documents for you. You can also take assistance from a legal advisor which would be best.
Consider the following:
- Make sure you are asking questions to the salesperson. Ask as many questions as you can until you are satisfied.
- Make sure you ask for relevant documents. Make copies to go through them.
- Don’t rush into anything. Take things at your own pace.
- A written agreement from the salesperson would be a better option. You don’t want to be scammed by just trusting the unknown person.
Why These Solar Scams Happen
The scammers are targeting senior citizens who are in critical health condition. Some are suffering from dementia.
Some elderly are exploited by trusted professionals. Now imagine what an elderly can do if a trusted professional gets involved in the scam. It’s best to act smart no matter who you are dealing with.
Cross-checking and understanding the contract language becomes a must. You should know what you are getting yourself into especially when your life savings are involved.
Tips On Avoiding The Solar Scams for The Elderly
Keep the following tips in mind:
- Ask your trusted source to help you with such matters.
- If you are working with a professional, make sure you ask someone to check the authenticity and credibility. A professional person would have a transparent online presence.
- Don’t just sign anything when you are under pressure.
- Don’t hesitate in saying no. When you are not comfortable, it’s okay to reject the offer.
- Follow your gut. One thing that years of experience have taught you is that the gut feeling can hardly be wrong. If you think something is fishy then it probably is so it would be better to avoid a deal that sounds too good to be true.
- If you want to do something for the environment and want to get involved with the solar panels then deal only with the professionals.
- You can turn down the salesperson on your door or phone. You can approach the reliable and right company yourself.
How to Know If A Solar Installation Company Is Reliable
With all such scams going around, it would be hard to rely on any company. Thus, you should know what a reliable company would be like.
Consider the following:
- You can get local references when it comes to dealing with a professional and reliable solar installation company.
- You can easily spot online reviews from different customers. You can see from the comments of the previous customers whether they were satisfied with the company’s work and performance.
- You can check out the online presence of the company. Plus, it would be easy to search and find online. You can see the official website to get enough information. Just make sure you are checking the website of the company you plan on hiring for the installation of the solar panels.
- It would be easy for you to understand the contract of a professional company. Plus, such a company would be reliable and transparent in the dealings.
- A professional company is available for communication. No matter what, you would always get a reply from a reliable service provider. It doesn’t matter whether you are using phone, email, or maybe fax!
Wrapping It Up
The solar scams targeting senior citizens are happening around you. If you have elderly in the house, it’s important to keep an eye on such scams. You don’t want your loved ones to suffer from such scams.
You have to see what types of scams are possible and the best way to avoid them. Make sure you are working only with the professionals.