The federal government confirms it has received complaints from homeowners against national solar company Sunwave Solar, adding it is following up on the allegations.
Global News first reported Tuesday that several homeowners across the country, including in Alberta, said they had given the Ontario-based company a deposit to install solar panels on their homes, following a door-to-door sales pitch from a sales person.
“He was a well-educated salesman and well-spoken,” Okotoks resident Jim Barclay said of the person who came to his door.
“He had the majority of the answers we wanted,” neighbor Larry Swanson agreed. “I was interested.”
Both men were particularly sold on the service after they said they were promised a rebate from the Canada Greener Homes Grant Initiative.
“On mine, it would cost me $10,100 total,” Swanson said. “I would have gotten $3,600 back.”
They said they filled out the form for the grant, but none of them received money back. Instead, they said they both had a $3,500 deposit.
They also claim the company ghosted them and did not provide the product or service for months.
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Global News contacted the federal government to find out if the company did submit the forms on behalf of the homeowners for a rebate. Again we were told that the government is aware of complaints.
“Sunwave has no affiliation with and is not licensed by NRCan to provide any services in conjunction with the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative,” said Keean Nembhard, press secretary for the Office of the Minister of Natural Resources.
“If our findings indicate that the EnerGuide rating system or the Canada Greener Homes Grant initiative is being used to sell products through Sunwave, a cease and desist letter will be issued.”
Global News also contacted the Alberta government to find out if the company is licensed to sell door-to-door in the province.
The office of Service Alberta and Red Tape Reduction told us a company called Sunwave Inc. has been licensed as a prepaid contractor since June 6 this year.
We also asked about the ban on door-to-door energy sales. We were told that the ban does not include solar sales, as this was not identified as a significant concern in 2017. The province said it could now be reviewed again.
Barclay and Swanson also told Global News that it had been suggested to them that Sunwave Solar work with Fortis Alberta in some way.
Peter Brodsky, a spokesperson for Fortis Alberta, told us this is not true and that he “deeply regrets any implied association with Fortis.”
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How to protect yourself
There are many ways consumers can avoid falling victim to an energy scam.
NRCan suggested consumers:
- refuse any inspection inside the home of a door-to-door salesperson;
- refuse all offers of an energy discount, a free product or claim of lower energy bills just to sign a contract on the spot;
- don’t click on suspicious phone calls, text messages and emails.
Service Alberta suggested that consumers and businesses complain to the province’s consumer investigation unit or visit alberta.ca for links on how to check your rights and whether an individual or business has been charged, convicted or has a license suspended.
Global News tried several times to get answers from Sunwave Solar about the accusations, but received only one email on Tuesday.
It said the company takes all complaints seriously and “will do our best to investigate and resolve the matter.”
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