California’s solar association strengthens the consumer protection rules for its members


The California Solar & Storage Association (CALSSA) recently updated its Code of Ethics with a detailed section on new consumer protection rules. Compliance with these new rules is now required for all CALSSA members to remain in good standing in the association and extend, in certain circumstances, to non-member business partners as well. The bulk of the rules focus on lead generators, licensure requirements and confirming contract terms.

“These new efforts are a continuation of CALSSA’s forty-year history of protecting consumers,” said CALSSA Executive Director, Bernadette Del Chiaro. “It is no good to grow California’s customer-facing solar market if we are going to leave consumer confidence at the front door. Consumer protection requires vigilance and due diligence, and that is what we are doing here.”

Some highlights of the new CALSSA rules include:

All CALSSA companies engaging in lead generation and/or contracting with third-party lead generators, will follow CALSSA’s more detailed consumer protection rules. For working with third-party lead generators, this means actively examining the policies and procedures of these companies and continually monitoring their work.

The new rules also include clearly defined terms that may not be used in any advertisement such as “free solar” or the suggestion that a government entity has endorsed solar products. While CALSSA’s previous Code of Ethics included avoiding these sorts of misleading terms, the association felt it necessary to more explicitly create “do’s” and “don’ts” for the industry.

The new rules reinforce that a member company working with anyone involved in door-to-door sales, or if they directly employ canvassers themselves, need to ensure the salespeople have a HIS registration per California law.

All member companies using third-party financing such as PPAs, leases or PACE, or the financing entity itself, must conduct a recorded confirmation call with all residential customers before construction begins to cover key terms of the contract.

The new consumer protection rules were developed by a special committee and approved by the CALSSA board of directors in August.

— Solar Builder magazine


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