ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Last week, we told you about an Abilene couple who said they were misled by a solar panel salesman and are now forced to pay off a $50,000 loan. Now, we’re taking a look into the other side of the story by speaking with a local reputable solar panel business about the appropriate way to make a sale, while also learning that door-to-door salesmen must have a permit through the city.
‘Know who you’re doing business with’: Abilene couple selling house after unwittingly entering $50k solar panel agreement
More affordable energy costs and an investment for your future are promises often made by solar panel salesmen. Because many people are struggling with bills, owner of Abilene Solar, Kyler Long said he believes in this promise. However, it only works if that is done the right way, and sometimes, the door-to-door salesmen can be misleading.
As the only Abilene solar business with an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Long told KTAB/KRBC this is only done through transparency.
“It is definitely a loan,” began Long. “That is one thing I want to clear up. I don’t want anyone getting misskewed by a process.”
Long said he noticed more door-to-door salesmen for solar panels come into the Key City about a year-and-a-half ago, and it has not only made the industry more confusing, but it also makes his business look bad.
“Some salesmen kind of just avoid things,” Long said.
Because of this, Long encourages people at home to know who is at their doorstep by doing research and getting second opinions.
Because people at home do not know who could be at their door, City Secretary Shawna Atkins also provided some tips. One way residents can know if a company is legit is by asking for their permit to make sure the salesmen has gone through the legal process to be there.
Abilene businesses savor the last rays of summer as autumn approaches
“You do have to have a permit. We call it a solicitor’s permit,” explained Atkins.
There are two types of permits salespeople can use in Abilene right now, because the city is in the process of upgrading. Even if a salesperson leaves a card on someone’s door, they must have a permit.
“They (salesperson) actually should have it displayed somewhere, and if they don’t have it out, you are happy to ask, ‘I need to see that please before I can talk to you,’” Atkins expanded.
If a salesperson does not have a permit, or if they are soliciting outside of the hours between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m., Atkins said you can call the police. It would then be up to an officer to issue the salesperson a citation.
While Long ensured that there are trustworthy salespeople, he told KTAB/KRBC some of them may not be well-educated in the solar panel process themselves. Instead, they are focused on making the sale.
Even if a potential customer wants advice on if a contract will work out for them or not, Long said they can call his business just to ask for his opinion.
Abilene BBB warns about ‘misleading’ homestead exemption form going around asking for money
“If you are meeting some young kid who is knocking on your door, and within 20 minutes of establishing a relationship, you’re signing papers with him, that should raise a red flag,” warned Long.
If a company is soliciting illegally, you can also call the city at (325) 676-6241 to file a complaint.