Attorney General Brnovich Settles Lawsuit Against Solar Company
News Release from Arizona Attorney General, February, 2015
Phoenix, AZ - Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced the resolution of a consumer fraud lawsuit filed against Stealth Solar LLC (Stealth) and owners Fred and Sandra Richie. Stealth Solar sold photovoltaic (“PV” or “solar”) systems and energy products. According to the lawsuit filed in 2014, Stealth obtained most of its business by making thousands of telemarketing calls that convinced customers to let Stealth employees make sales pitches at their homes. The company operated in Arizona, California and Hawaii from 2010 to 2014.
The Consent Judgment finds that Stealth violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act (ACFA) by making illegal statements and omissions in both telemarketing calls and in-home sales presentations. Customers heard pitches that turned out to be false, deceptive, and misleading. Some examples of those statements include: “cannot even add one cent to your personal budget,” its customers can “save tons of money every single month,” and that “utility bills will rise 8-14% per year if you don’t get a PV System”.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office received approximately 50 consumer complaints against Stealth. Many customers did not receive the promised savings and even experienced an increase in their electricity outlay due to the cost of solar equipment.
Stealth and its owners must pay $72,000 in consumer restitution for the current complaint pool, up to an additional $20,000 in consumer restitution for eligible consumers who make a complaint within the next six months, $20,000 in attorneys’ fees and investigative costs, and $160,000 in civil penalties.
“We thank those customers who came forward to voice their concerns about this company,” said Attorney General Brnovich. “Our attorneys want to know about false advertising. With that information we can hold companies accountable for deceiving consumers.”
If you believe you have been a victim of consumer fraud, please contact the Attorney General's Office in Phoenix at (602) 542-5763, in Tucson at (520) 628-6648, or outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas at (800) 352-8431. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Attorney General’s website at www.azag.gov.
Assistant Attorney General Jordan Christensen handled this case. For more information and to set up interviews with consumers contact Kristen Keogh (602) 339-5895 or Kristen.Keogh@azag.gov.
PDF: Consent Judgment
AZ Central: Arizona's Stealth Solar owners admit fraud