The Arizona Attorney General Office announced the settlement of a consumer fraud lawsuit against Go Green Today, LLC (“Go Green”), an Arizona-based solar company that allegedly made thousands of unwanted telephone calls to consumers on the FTC’s National Do Not Call Registry (DNC). In addition to making unsolicited telemarketing calls, Go Green also violated the Arizona Consumer Fraud Act (ACFA) in the marketing and sale of solar products. Under the consent judgment, up to $55,000 in restitution will be paid to victims.
“We are aggressively going after companies that make illegal telemarketing and robocalls to scam consumers,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich, “Our office intends to pursue a legislative fix this session that will close many of the statutory loopholes that allow telemarketing companies to flourish in our state.”
In November 2014, the Attorney General’s Office opened a consumer fraud investigation against Go Green and its parent company Paniolo Builders, LLC (“Paniolo”) dbaDiscover Energy. The Attorney General’s Office received hundreds of consumer complaints regarding Go Green’s “Go Green Initiative” and “Go Green Campaign” unsolicited telemarketing calls. Go Green installs photovoltaic (“PV” or “solar”) systems, solar water heaters, and energy saving products in Arizona. An additional 30 consumer complaints were filed by Go Green consumers who claimed they did not receive the benefits and cost savings promised. Consumers who filed complaints claimed they experienced a significant increase in their total monthly electricity expenses due to their obligation to pay large financing payments for the solar products.
On August 26, 2015, the Attorney General’s Office resolved the consumer fraud lawsuit against Go Green and Paniolo by entering into a Consent Judgment. The Consent Judgment finds that Defendants failed to register with the DNC registry, made telemarketing calls to telephone numbers that were registered on the DNC registry for more than 30 days, misrepresented the identity of the telemarketing callers and purpose of the telemarketing calls, made misrepresenting and deceptive statements regarding attainable energy cost savings, and used misleading graphs and worksheets to misrepresent the overall economic impact of purchasing Discover Energy products.
The Consent Judgment permanently enjoins Paniolo and Go Green from engaging in the conduct that gave rise to the lawsuit and any other conduct that may violate the ACFA. In the future, Go Green must adhere to strict requirements for initiating telemarketing calls and must provide the Attorney General with a quarterly report listing all telephone numbers from which it initiates telemarketing calls.
Defendants are required pay $25,000 in consumer restitution for consumers who have not already settled their claims or received restitution. Defendants are required to pay up to an additional $30,000 in consumer restitution for eligible consumers who file a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office within the next six months. Defendants must also pay a $100,000 civil penalty and $15,000 for the State’s attorneys’ fees and investigative costs. $75,000 of the civil penalty is suspended contingent upon Defendants’ full compliance with the injunctive provisions. Defendants have already paid $65,000 of the judgment owed.
If you purchased solar products from Go Green, Paniolo Builders, or Discovery Energy and believe you are a victim of deceptive and fraudulent business practices, you may be eligible for financial restitution. Complaints must be filed within the next six months. 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 1 (800) 352-8431. Consumers can also file complaints online by visiting the Office of the Attorney General’s website at https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.