Consumer fraud takes many forms, but one of the most egregious kinds of consumer fraud involves targeting elderly individuals who may be particularly vulnerable to illegal sales tactics.
That was the claim in a recently settled consumer fraud lawsuit in Arizona. According to the state Attorney General's Office, Phoenix-based Going Green Solar misled customers -- in particular, senior citizens -- to think that the company's solar energy systems would reduce the customers' utility bills. In reality, though, the purchased equipment did not lead to the promised savings, and some customers even saw their utility costs increase.
The settlement states that Going Green used phone calls and in-home presentations to pressure customers into buying the company's products. Going Green was found to have violated the federal do-not-call list and made false promises with the use of "deceptive graphs, worksheets and pictures."
As part of the settlement, Going Green's owners admitted to the fraud and agreed to settle the case with a total payment of up $111,000 to customers. The president of the company is also expected to pay $17,000 in attorneys' fees and up to $120,000 in fines.
The settlement requires the company to revise its sales presentations and telemarketing language, and is restricted from advertising that Going Green products can reduce energy costs by a certain percentage unless there is quantifiable proof of such a reduction.
An article in The Arizona Republic has more on this and another case of consumer fraud involving false advertising and solar energy.
The attorneys of Shepherd, Finkelman, Miller & Shah handle consumer fraud and trade regulation cases involving false advertising, price-fixing, monopolization and unfair and deceptive trade practices. If you would like to learn more about these matters, then our trade regulation overview is a good place to start.