82-Year-Old Woman Is Victim Of Solar Power Scam - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

TUESDAY, March 24, 2009

82-Year-Old Woman Is Victim Of Solar Power Scam

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The federal government's stimulus package will put tens of billions of dollars into renewable energy, but before you spend one dime on any project at your home, do your homework. There's a solar power scam everyone in the county should know about.

Last summer when 82-Year-Old Emma Yeager spent more than $40,000 on a rooftop solar power system, the ad in the paper promised her and others a 100 percent rebate.

"Those vouchers are just not there," Emma said.

Not only did Emma not get a 100 percent rebate, but solar experts now tell her she paid $40,000 for a $20,000 system.

"I would be very leery who I would do business with again," she said.

Out of all the lies and broken promises, Emma says a document with her forged signature bothers her the most.

"I've never had that happen to me before," she said.

The company Emma used out of El Cajon named Best Windows and Doors is now bankrupt and out of business.

Ben Airth with the Center for Sustainable Energy California looked into Emma's complaint and discovered someone tried to embezzle her $4,000 state rebate.

"I asked myself why would she be giving them $4,000 if they are not going to give her a rebate for $40,000," Airth said.

Airth says before signing a contract with a company, check them out with the state's contractor licensing board and the Better Business Bureau.

"This company, Best Windows and Doors had an F rating," he said.

UCAN's Sue Macomber has been following the Best Windows & Doors paper trail for a year and a half. She says more than 50 people were scammed by the company, and she doesn't understand why prosecutors aren't filing criminal charges.

"To me, something is wrong with this picture," Macomber said.

As for Emma Yeager, the only part of this deal that's paying off are the panels that have the electricity meter spinning backwards.

"I'm all for solar, it helps. But I'd be really careful who I'm buying it off of," she said.

Despite her problems, Emma continues to look at the bright side of solar. She says her system works just fine and that her electricity bill has dropped from $80 a month to just $3 a month.

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