Category Archives: HERA News

Beware of Solar Panel Door-to-Door Salespersons

gus-ruballo-128864.jpgMany homeowners across California are being unlawfully tricked into financing solar panels for their homes by door-to-door salespersons and phone solicitors who misrepresent the terms of the sale.  Recently, HERA assisted the Madrizes of Madera, California, who were misled into financing the installation of solar panel system on their roof by a salesman who knocked on their door.  The Madrizes are monolingual Spanish-speakers and the salesperson told them in Spanish that his company could install solar panels on their roof that would save them hundreds of dollars on their energy bills.  The salesman told them they would pay $118 per month for 15 years and that they would receive a 30% tax reimbursement.  He also said the company would be responsible for the upkeep of the panels and would fix them if needed.

After this explanation, he had Mr. Madriz sign a contract written entirely in English, which the Madrizes could not read or understand. He never told Mr. and Mrs. Madriz that they would be financing the cost of the solar panels with a loan.  The contract only briefly mentioned financing and had dramatically different terms than were explained by the salesman, including $118 per month payments for 19-years accruing 5.99% interest per year.  However, they did not understand those terms because they were written in English.

The solar panels were later installed, but never connected to the electric grid, and therefore never functioned.  Despite this fact, the financing company continued to bill the Madrizes for the loan.  They were shocked to receive their first bill with a $17,160 balance.  Desperate for help, they contacted HERA.  HERA helped them file a complaint to the Contractor State Licensing Board about the contractor’s failure to provide a functioning solar panel system.  HERA also sent the financing company a letter rescinding the loan based on the salespersons’s fraudulent misrepresentation and the failure to provide the Madrizes with a copy of the contract in the language in which it was negotiated, as required by Civil Code section 1632.

HERA has assisted other clients rescind solar panel contracts that were obtained based in misrepresentations about the terms and without providing a copy of the contract in Spanish after Spanish-language negotiations about the terms.

HERA continues to represent several other clients who have been misled into financing their solar panels and other home improvements based on terms that differ from what was promised and/or not provided a copy of the contracts in the language in which it was negotiated.  If you are facing such a problem, you should contact us for assistance.

Visit us online www.heraca.org or call us at 510-271-8443

 

*Image shown is a sample image of a home with solar panels.

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HERA and LEGAL SERVICES CENTER OF HARVARD LAW SCHOOL FILE CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF

December 20, 2017, Oakland, California:

This morning, borrowers represented by HERA and the Project on Predatory Student Lending at the Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School filed a nation-wide class action against the Department of Education for illegally and unfairly denying relief to tens of thousands of former Corinthian students who the Department already decided are entitled to have their loans discharged and their payments refunded.  Not only were they lied to by Corinthian, they have now been lied to by the federal government.

The case was brought by three named plaintiffs:

  • Martin Calvillo Manriquez was talked into WyoTech’s automotive technology program over community college. He didn’t really have an opportunity to even touch cars or car parts while he was enrolled. The school didn’t have tools or certified instructors. While he was in school, he worked at an oil change shop earning $8 an hour. He kept seeing classmates who had graduated from his program applying for the same low-paying, non-technical job he already had. Most of them didn’t even get jobs changing oil. Martin has never had a job related to auto repair. Even though the Department determined that Martin was misled and cheated, and even though he applied to have his loans discharged, the Department has taken two years of tax refunds and garnished his wages to pay back his loans.
  • Rthwan Dobashi owes more than $20,000 for the same program. He has also never worked in the field.  He is married, has two kids, and is expecting a third. In early 2016, he found out from the attorney general that he was eligible to have his debts from WyoTech cancelled, and he applied. He also told one of his friends from school, and his friend applied, too. His friend’s loans were discharged almost a year ago, while Rick still hasn’t heard anything from the Department.
  • Jamal Cornelius’s attended the Information Technology-Emphasis in Network Security program at Heald College, and borrowed more than $25,000. His debt from Corinthian is the only line on his credit report. He has been waiting more than fourteen months for any response to his application for relief.

All three borrowers, and all class members, are entitled to relief pursuant to the Department’s Corinthian Job Placement Rate Rule, which it has established through countless public statements, previous discharges, and direct notice to tens of thousands of covered individuals. The Department may not now change this rule and apply changes retroactively. In other words, it is unlawful for the Department to go back on its word.

See the full complaint here.

Please contact us at inquiries@heraca.org or (510) 271-8443 ext. 300.

New HERA Brochure

Proud to share our new HERA brochure, find out Who We Are.

HERA Brochure 2017.06.20_Page_1

 

HERA Brochure 2017.06.20_Page_2

Thank you to our wonderful friends at PSPrint for their kind donation to HERA. We are delighted with the results! For high quality online printing you must check out www.psprint.com. Thanks again!

Please contact inquiries@heraca.org to request brochures. You can access a PDF version of our brochure by following this link: HERA Brochure 2017.06.20