If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably experienced unwanted calls from telemarketers trying to sell you products and services. The solar industry isn’t immune to this problem: some of the largest nationwide companies installing solar have historically relied on aggressive telemarketing practices to grow their businesses. Companies like SolarCity have been on the receiving end of many consumer complaints about their telemarketing tactics. A recent class action lawsuit against SolarCity (now part of Tesla Energy) addresses the company’s alleged violation of Federal telemarketing rules.
What is this SolarCity lawsuit about?
The lawsuit, Lucero v. SolarCity Corp., alleges that SolarCity violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) with their telemarketing practices. The TCPA is the law that established the National Do Not Call Registry, where you can register your phone number to avoid unwanted telemarketing calls.
According to the plaintiff in the lawsuit, SolarCity violated the TCPA by calling homeowners who didn’t consent to receive the company’s phone calls. In many cases, the calls were not made by real people in a call center, but were pre-recorded robocalls made using autodialers. The TCPA only allows robocalls and autodialers if the phone call recipient has given their express written consent to the company beforehand.
At this point, SolarCity has reached a settlement agreement with the members of the class action lawsuit. Importantly, this does not mean that the solar company has admitted any fault – SolarCity has agreed to the settlement to avoid the expense of ongoing litigation, but denies the allegations in the lawsuit.
How do I know if I’m eligible for a settlement?
Some of the people who are eligible for a settlement received a letter in the mail informing them of it. However, you don’t need to have received a letter to be eligible. Anybody who received either (1) one or more calls on their cell phones from SolarCity or (2) at least two telemarketing calls from SolarCity during any 12-month period where their phone numbers appeared on the Do Not Call Registry can be a Class Member and is eligible for a settlement.
SolarCity has established a $15 million fund for Class Members. Under the TCPA, you may be able to collect $500 to $1,500 in damages per violation, but the amount that you could receive from the settlement is dependent on how many Class Members submit a claim. The more people who submit claims, the less each Class Member is likely to receive.
What is the timeline for this SolarCity lawsuit?
The Class Period spans from November 6, 2011 to October 16, 2017, which means that if you received a call offering a SolarCity product in that timeframe you may be eligible for a payment as a Class Member.
If you want to exclude yourself from the settlement, you have until December 15, 2017 to do so. You can file a claim until April 16, 2018.
How do I learn more about the class action lawsuit and settlement?
There is an official website for the SolarCity TCPA settlement, where you can find important dates and more frequently asked questions. On that website, you can also submit a claim as a Class Member if you received unsolicited phone calls from SolarCity.
PLEASE NOTE: This article was written for informational purposes only as this is a newsworthy topic in the solar industry, but it is not intended to provide any legal advice. We recommend you contact your attorney to obtain specific advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.