CLEVELAND — Solar energy customers claim they were misled, and they paid for a service that never lived up to the sales pitch. So, News 5 Investigators dug deep into a company called PowerHome Solar that’s seen hundreds of complaints from irate customers across the country.
“So, this is what we paid nearly $30,000 for,” said Mark Mondello from Suffield, who stood in his driveway staring up at his roof. He told us his solar project has been a nightmare with PowerHome Solar. “I imagine a day when they’re not there and I’ve got a new roof.”
“(The system) might have saved us about $15 a month, said Mondello. “Nowhere near what that guy, our salesman said.”
PROMISE OF DRASTIC DROP IN BILLS
Mondello told us the PowerHome Solar sales guy told him his 15 solar panels would drop his electric bill drastically.
Mondello’s Attorney Sean Steward said that’s a common complaint from customers who have contacted him.
“The output that was promised versus what’s actually delivered, and it’s every single person who calls (us) has the same story,” he said.
Mondello told us when he’s tried to get some answers to his problems, there’s been very poor customer service.
“You don’t mind taking our money, but now that we’re calling you on garbage products, now you can’t help us?” Mondello said.
He’s also angry about the contract where it states what the salesperson tells the customer is “hypothetical only.”
“We were never told, ‘We’re going to send our sales rep out to pitch our product, but don’t trust them,’” said Mondello.
COMPARING BILLS BEFORE & AFTER PANELS INSTALLED
When we analyzed Mondello’s electric bills comparing the same months year over year, we found before the panels, he averaged $158/month. With the panels, he saves a little on electricity, but when you add in costs of the system in a 20-year loan, he averaged $296/month.
“We’re paying double for electricity now (with the electric bill and loan payments) when we were initially trying to save money,” said Mondello.
MORE FRUSTRATED OHIO CUSTOMERS
We found even more people across Ohio angry with PowerHome Solar and feeling trapped in its system.
“They said…your energy bill is going to be reduced. It hasn’t been reduced,” said Shawn Lowry from Cincinnati.
“I want them to take their stuff,” said Amanda McQuade from Beavercreek. “I want the battery gone. I want the panels gone. And I want the loan gone.”
“It’s been 36 months of Hell and I don’t even know what to do anymore,” said Vince Petric from Cincy.
PROBLEMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
“I want to try to prevent other victims from being created,” said Jordan Kleinsmith, who created a site called PowerHomeLawsuit.com after he said he had his own problems with the company.
Kleinsmith said he’s organized people from around the country with PowerHome frustrations and linked them with consumer rights watchdogs. “I’m actually being held hostage in this contract that represents nothing of what was promised to me,” said Kleinsmith in disbelief. “And I really have no way out of this?”
Our research found hundreds of complaints against PowerHome Solar filed with the Better Business Bureau, lawsuits in courts, and other …….