MADISON, Wis (WMTV) – The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau warns to be careful when looking at installation offers for solar panels.

The BBB says con artists offering “free solar panels” use deceptive marketing tactics and lies to trick homeowners out of money and into giving up personal information.

The BBB says the scam often involves being contacted via email, phone, social media or even in person by someone pretending to be a solar company salesperson. The “salesperson” has a special offer where they say they can install solar panels on your home at low cost or even for free. They say the deal is only for a limited time, so they encourage you to act quickly.

Next the scammer may ask for personal information, including requiring you to fill in forms with your bank details. The salesperson may also say that you have to pay the initial cost, which they promise will be paid by a “government program.”

The BBB recommends following these tips to avoid solar panel scams:

  • Do your research. Genuine incentive programs and reputable solar energy companies exist, but before you accept any offer, do some research on solar companies near you. Check the company’s reputation and business practices before you sign a contract for services.
  • Don’t give in to the pressure. Con artists want you to give in to their request without fully thinking it through. Take your time and know that a legitimate company will not pressure you. Cut off communication when a salesperson uses aggressive tactics.
  • Get other bids. Contact several solar installers if you want to go solar. If someone pulls a con, it’s easier to find if you can compare companies.
  • Question. Ask questions about any part of a contract or proposal that you do not understand. If a salesperson is upset about your questions, refuses to answer them or is vague in the answers, consider this a red flag.

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