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'You helped us dodge a huge bullet’; FOCUS investigation sheds light on solar sales practices

FOCUS investigator John Charlton explains how complaints against one solar panel company have grown since our reports first aired.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — They are sold as a bright spot during these trying times in energy costs, and interest in solar power is growing.

However, green energy experts say there are solar companies out there that are less than legit.

After hearing from many angry customers and seeing dozens more on social media FOCUS started investigating one solar seller in the area, Solar Titan USA.

Since May our FOCUS team met several customers left in the dark after installation. Click here to read Solar Titan's full response to our first report and check out our follow-up reporting.

“[It] wouldn't hurt my feelings a bit if they offered just to come and take everything back,” Kenneth Bryant, a Solar Titan customer in Frankfort, Kentucky said.

Kenneth Jones, a Solar Titan customer in Richmond, Kentucky, said he's got the system, but it's not up and running.

“They kept it broke for a long time and told lots of lies,” Tim Morrow, a Solar Titan customer in Shelbyville, Kentucky told FOCUS.

RELATED: Louisville Inspectors find issues with solar projects at 30 properties

Complaints filed with the Kentucky Attorney General's Office have more than tripled since FOCUS started investigating. 

Those testimonials and our reports in Kentucky reached Alabama. “You helped us dodge a huge bullet,” Tracy Swayne in Madison, Alabama told FOCUS. “We've been thinking about solar panels for years because we have the perfect home for it. We have no trees." 

Swayne said when she saw the ads for Solar Titan, USA, she thought it was a great opportunity to get some information. 

She set up an appointment.

Swayne said she was impressed with the sales schedule and the information the salesperson provided.

She said the salesperson said if they signed that day, they would get a "smokin great price."

So, she signed up for a $53,000 system. 

“$53,000, plus the finance, which goes 20 years, which would make it $96,000. So, you don't break even until year 25. I think that's how the math worked out. Which makes no sense. It makes no financial sense," Swayne said. "We had no business doing that. We were trying to get information, and we got sucked into a sales pitch.”

That night Swayne stayed up until 2 a.m. researching the company. She searched Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, and social media before stumbling across our FOCUS reports.

She said she canceled the very next day which was within the three-day cancellation period outlined in the contract. But two weeks later she is hopeful that the cancellation will stand.

Tracy Swayne: “I got a call back from Solar Titan U.S.A. where a woman just said, we received your cancellation. Well, that’s not a paper trail.”

John: “What was the deciding factor for you to cancel?”

Tracy Swayne: “Your story, with the Attorney General involved in this, that was it, that's all I needed."

Although Alabama's Attorney General's Office called Solar Titan an open matter and won't discuss it, Kentucky's AG Office told FOCUS that the investigation of Solar Titan continues, now with at least 39 complaints.

RELATED: FOCUS investigates customers’ complaints against a solar company

“They are hitting hard in this area and I just hope that people will see your stories to know to do your homework, find out what the best company is,” Swayne said.

FOCUS reached out to Solar Titan U.S.A., to ask how many contracts have been canceled, if they are still honoring the three-day cancellation option and if they've been cooperating with the AGs in Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama.

Solar Titan responded with an email with the statement below.

Credit: Solar Ttian, USA

We have asked several times for an interview, but so far Solar Titan has declined.

If you're interested in solar energy, FOCUS put together some resources you should review before you sign the dotted line. Click here to learn more.

Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users.

Have a something you want out FOCUS investigative team to look into? Email FOCUS@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

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