Misleading and Illegal Solar Advertising and Exam Waivers

Righting wrongs like a superhero for contractors! Seriously, I also share important information that impacts contractors and consumers alike direct from the Board…

Q: I have over 35 years of plumbing experience, much of which was gained by working for the Union. I have been told that I will qualify for my own Contractors License (“C-36”) and I will not have to take the trade exam based on my many years of experience, but I may still be required to take the law exam. Is there any way to get the law exam waived?

A: I have some bad news for you, it sounds like you’ve received some incorrect information. You are not able to waive the CSLB exams based on experience alone. It certainly sounds like you have well over the required amount of work experience, but unfortunately, you’ll need to take both the law and trade exams.

A fast and loose false interpretation of law is being used in advertisements for solar to fool consumers and harm legitimate contractors according to the CSLB. 

The Board is warning consumers around the state about misleading and possibly illegal advertisements being distributed by way of door flyers, door-to-door salespersons, and direct mail. The scams often resulting from these types of advertisements can be financially devastating to homeowners. ‘high-pressure sales tactics to convince homeowners to sign contracts for work they may not be able to afford, or under the pretext there will be no cost to them.

The ads falsely imply that Senate Bill (SB) 100 requires the federal government and PG&E provide solar for consumers “with no out of pocket expense.”  

SB 100 does not provide consumers with free solar.

Homeowners may lose thousands of dollars by entering into a contract for a solar system that is significantly overpriced, they cannot afford, or obtain a loan that pays the contractor directly for work that may not be performed or completed.

In response to this issue, CSLB recommends that consumers take the time to carefully research any contractor they consider hiring. They should check the contractor’s license status on the CSLB website and also get multiple bids for any work they are considering, ask contractors for references, and never agree to contractual or lending terms that are not in writing or they do not understand.

“Consumers need to be careful when considering any home improvement project, including solar installations,” said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. 

Eyes open contractors as these scams also take work away from the good folks like my readers! You be the hero when you see it, share with CSLB, and win one for the community.