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Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Carolyn Reilly |

Executive Director’s Message

By Carolyn ReillyCRPHOTO

Many of us want to help the environment.  Others are looking for ways to save money on their energy bills.  Some hope to do both.

Door-to door sales and mailers are advertising solar products, energy efficient windows and other energy upgrades, with rebates and various financing options.  These products and deals may sound good but many have problems which can end up costing far more than originally quoted.

Older consumers have contacted us with reports of home improvement contractors using telemarketing and door-to-door sales to misleadingly negotiate the terms of agreements and loans.  Some of these contractors enter consumers into agreements or loans using a cell phone or tablet to obtain an electronic signature, providing no paper documents and giving the consumer no time to review the terms. Some of the financing agreements are through a government program which sets up payment through the homeowner’s tax bill.  These consumers are not aware that the financing becomes a lien against their home and can affect their current mortgage, ability to re-finance and the future sale of the home.

Before entering into any energy upgrade agreement or loan, ask questions and make sure you understand all of the terms.  Make sure you have documents you can review and take the time to review and understand them.  If you cannot get the documents you need or are being pressured into signing before you are ready, walk away.  Call Elder Law & Advocacy at 858-565-1392 for free legal advice from one of our legal services attorneys who can help you understand the legal aspects of that energy upgrade contract.