News 12 at 6 o'clock / Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2011
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- The Georgia Attorney General's Office and Georgia Power are investigating a company who they say misrepresented themselves to homeowners in the Augusta area.
Georgia Power says they have received about 30 calls from their customers inquiring about a company called United Save Energy Association or Eco Solar Shield. Their customers claim employees with the company claim to be partners with Georgia Power. A spokesperson is calling the company a "scam."
The Better Business Bureau reports they received up to six calls a day from consumers inquiring about the company.
"Our concern is that their sales practices are not what they considered as honest," said Gigi Turner with the BBB.
Turner checked with the BBB in Florida, where the company is located, and discovered they had already started their own investigation into the company. The Florida BBB gave United Save Energy Association/Eco Solar Shield an 'F' rating.
The BBB has traced complaints originating in Florida through Brunswick to Savannah and finally Augusta. On Your Side contacted a manager with Eco Solar Shield. He would not comment except to say "we have left the [Augusta] area."
On Your Side obtained training documents from Eco Solar Shield. The documents show the company using the BBB's logo that states they are accredited. Turner says that is not the case.
Ophelia Adams says a representative with United Save Energy contacted her via phone a few weeks ago. She says the salesperson told her President Obama opened up stimulus money for people who have high power bills. He offered an energy analysis of her home.
"I asked him if I had to purchase anything and he said no," she said. "Naturally, I was excited."
The BBB says the free energy analysis later turns into a high-pressure sale once they come to your home.
"A lot of consumers get upset because they realize this a sales pitch," Turner said. "Some other inconsistencies is that they claim to be representing your local utility department."
Adams called Georgia Power before setting up an appointment with United Save Energy Association.
"The lady at Georgia Power helped me a great deal. She told me she was aware of the company. I said, 'Oh, it's legit?' And she said, 'No, it's not.'"
Adams did not schedule an appointment with the company after the warning from her power company.
The BBB said some consumers in our area bought the product. One woman told News 12 the workman did shoddy work and left a mess in her attic. Another consumer paid $15,000 for the product only later to have the subcontractor put a lien on his home. The subcontractor claims the contractor never paid him.
Georgia Power has a security team working to track the company down. A spokesperson says they have alerted the Richmond County Sheriff's Office.