Solar surprise: Homeowners hit with big bills for panels they say they didn’t buy – CBS News

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The CBS News Texas I-Team has been looking into complaints about the solar panel industry for the past several months. Read our latest story here.

GARLAND — Kim Kromdyk doesn’t have solar panels. Not one. 

A couple of years ago, she did consider them. She even made an appointment with a salesperson.

“My exact words were, ‘Well, it can’t hurt to hear what they have to say,'” she remembers. “We sat at the kitchen table and he had a little iPad. There was just one blank there. There was no written text or anything … He said ‘Just sign here so we can check your credit,’ and I just took his word that that’s what I was doing.”

By the next morning, she’d made up her mind.

“I called him and told him that I had just thought about it, and I decided … I don’t want to go through with this,” Kromdyk said. “And he said ‘fine.'”

That was the end of the story. Or so she thought.

Earlier this year, when Kromdyk tried refinancing her home, her mortgage lender noticed a problem: all three credit bureaus showed she had taken out a loan for solar panels and there was a lien on her property. 

Records show a company called Solar Mosaic filed liens linked to Kromdyk’s home with both Dallas County and the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, claiming she owed them more than $97,000.

Kromdyk reached out to Mosaic and its installation partner, Freedom Forever, to clear up any confusion.

“Freedom Forever kept telling me, ‘We canceled that over a year ago,'” she said. “And, I said, ‘Well, could you please tell Mosaic because they’re saying that you didn’t?’ And, I went back and forth, back and forth, back and forth.” 

In response to an inquiry from Kromdyk’s attorney, Freedom Forever sent a letter saying it “canceled Ms. Kromdyk’s Supply and Installation Agreement … for sale and installation of the solar energy system” and notified Mosaic.

Instead of removing any debt from its records, though, she says Mosaic suddenly started trying to collect it.

“They were calling me two and three times a day saying I owed money … telling me I was late,” she said. “I was like, ‘Late for what?’ I don’t have anything. I have no solar panels.”

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Mosaic provided Kromdyk’s attorney with a copy of a contract for solar panels it says she signed. Kromdyk insists she didn’t sign it.

And when she saw it? 

“Well, I wanted to cry.” 

Kromdyk’s experience isn’t unique.

Complaints across the country

In Facebook groups and on the Better Business Bureau’s website, homeowners from across the country have shared nearly identical accounts. 

In Northern California, Andrea Bokreta said she began receiving bills for a loan from Mosaic after a meeting with a salesperson from Freedom Forever, despite not going through with the purchase.

“I don’t have solar. I didn’t order anything. I didn’t sign anything,” said Bokreta.

When contacted by CBS News Sacramento, Freedom Forever responded with an email saying Bokreta did sign a contract with DocuSign, but that they had since canceled it.  

In the Chicago area, Ray Covarrubias says he’s never been able to reach anyone at Mosaic to address a loan taken out in his name that he said he never agreed to for panels he doesn’t have.

“It was almost dumbfounding on how they run the company because you cannot talk to anyone that has the authority to do anything,” said Covarrubias.

In Arizona, CBS affiliate KTVK interviewed Robert Tintinger, who also said he didn’t go through with buying solar panels from Freedom Forever after getting a quote from the company.

A year later, he says he started getting billed for a loan in his name with Mosaic.

In a statement to KTVK, Freedom Forever said they had been in touch with Tintinger and that the contract had been fully canceled.

Months later, KTVK interviewed another homeowner, Melissa Hamilton, who also had Freedom Forever take a loan out with Mosaic in her name, despite not having solar panels. 

Again, when contacted by the TV station, Freedom Forever said they would look into the issue and later canceled the contract.

State attorneys general in Kentucky and Tennessee have filed a federal lawsuit against Mosaic and its partner in those states, Solar Titan, alleging the companies “routinely ignore cancellation requests made within three days, the time period for consumers’ statutory right to rescind” and that has “allowed Mosaic to reap enormous profits while facing no consequences.”

In court filings, Mosaic argues that it complied with its legal obligations as a consumer lender and that it shouldn’t be held liable for Solar Titan’s conduct simply because Mosaic provided financing to Solar Titan’s customers.

“The law does not require companies like Mosaic to police home improvement contractors, and it most certainly does not impose liability under the circumstances presented in this action,” reads a court document.

Just last week in Oakland, California, a hundred people gathered to protest outside Solar Mosaic’s headquarters, accusing it of issuing payments to installers for work that was “left partially completed or never even started,” according to reporting by The Oaklandside.

Hoping for a resolution

Here in Texas, Kromdyk was left weighing her options.

“I don’t know where to turn next other than a lawsuit,” she said. “Of course, that costs a lot of money.”

A retired high school softball coach, she’s on a fixed income and thinking about eventually moving to Michigan to be closer to her aging parents.


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For months, she says she’s felt stuck unable to sell or even refinance her home, all because of solar panels she’s never seen, never bought and to the best of her knowledge, never owned.

Mosaic did not agree to an interview or answer questions from CBS News Texas about the larger pattern of problems we found. But the company did email us a statement that read, in part: 

“Mosaic takes its relationship with borrowers seriously. We strive to create a positive customer experience for every homeowner who chooses Mosaic to finance their sustainable home improvements.”

The statement continued, “We cannot comment on Raymond Covarrubias’s situation as it is in active litigation and cannot comment on specific borrowers situations due to privacy.”

Freedom Forever emailed a comment to CBS News Texas saying they have hundreds of thousands of satisfied customers nationwide. “The referenced claim of customers not being able to recall agreeing to a contract can be disproven.”

The statement went on to say “In these rare examples of customers experiencing buyer’s remorse and failing to cancel as contractually outlined in the Supply & Installation agreement, Freedom Forever has continued to go above and beyond and cancel their contract with no financial repercussion to the customer.”

When we asked about Kromdyk specifically, both companies later confirmed her loan had been canceled.

The I-Team will have a follow-up report about Kromdyk’s situation on CBS News Texas at 10 p.m. on May 8.

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