A proposed class action alleges Venture Home Solar has misrepresented to Northeast customers that their electric bills would be substantially “offset” by the installation and use of the company’s solar panel system.
The 17-page lawsuit alleges that although Venture marketed to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire residents that the “offsets” from its solar panel systems would yield significant savings, this turned out not to be the case, as the solar panels are allegedly unable to provide enough electricity to provide the represented offset.
According to the complaint, defendants Venture Home Solar, Venture Commercial NYC and Venture Solar Commercial continue to tout the purported energy bill savings despite “numerous complaints from their consumers.”
“Defendants’ conduct constitutes a deceptive trade practice,” the lawsuit alleges. “Plaintiffs and the Class were deceived and have lost significant amounts of money as a result of Defendants’ actions, as further explained herein.”
The case relays that Venture markets its solar power systems amid a competitive energy market in which companies make bold claims so as to differentiate themselves. According to the suit, Venture, in its “zeal of getting new customers,” has relied on a deceptive sales scheme propped up by “misleading promises,” in particular with regard to over-promised energy savings that the company knows or should have known are not obtainable.
Per the lawsuit, Venture’s sales tactics include myriad marketing pitches designed to induce consumers into buying or leasing a solar panel system:
“Defendants’ scheme utilized, and still utilizes, various methods of inducement, including but not limited to, aggressive marketing tactics, referral bonuses for recruiting new customers, touting high-quality equipment, aesthetically-pleasing product superior to their competitors (even so much that they promise $100 savings towards a solar panel system if a consumer finds a better looking install of solar panels), boasting outstanding reviews from previous customers in an effort to attract new customers (even though they know not all their reviews are in fact outstanding), claiming local expertise with applicable laws and regulations, and touting great customer service.”
After consulting with a consumer and assessing their home to determine how much energy their residence requires and how many panels should be installed on their roof, Venture will issue to the consumer a quote that typically includes the cost of the project and what they can expect as far as an electricity bill offset, the lawsuit says. This number is shared as a percentage and typically memorialized on the cover page of a consumer’s contract with Venture or in the written quote provided prior to signing, the suit states.
As the lawsuit tells it, the utility offset percentage, i.e., the amount of savings a consumer can expect, is a vital consideration in the process of buying or leasing solar panels. The suit alleges, however, that thousands of consumers have fallen victim to the aforementioned sale pitch, only to see minimal savings in their monthly electric bills.
The lawsuit looks to represent all persons or entities residing or located in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire who leased or purchased a solar panel system marketed by one of the Venture defendants and who did not receive the offset on their electricity usage charges that they were promised “during the class periods as determined by the applicable [s]tate statutes of limitations” and until the defendants’ “unlawful acts and the effects of their acts cease.”
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