American Solar Direct is a scam. Customers who sign up take on a 20 year lease obligation. In return the company installs a solar electric system on their roof and agrees to warranty and maintain the system for 20 years. Then the company bundles up the lease obligations it has committed and sells them to a financial institution, much the same way mortgages were bundled during the real estate bubble. American Solar Direct just takes the money and runs. When they go out of business the homeowners who have bought into their program will find that their partner who was supposed to warranty and maintain their system for 20 years has skipped town. Their only relationship will be with the financial institution which bought their lease. They will still be legally obligated to make monthly payments for 20 years. If they don't they will be in default, and the financial institution will proceed against them legally.
American Solar Direct is currently under criminal investigation by the IRS and EDD for tax fraud, 1099 misclassification and retaliation against workers who stood up for their independent contractor rights. These are serious crimes. The managers of American Solar Direct are in to them up to their necks due to their callous, insensitive and abusive attitudes toward their employees. The probable outcome of these investigations is that American Solar Direct will be gone sooner rather than later. The 1000 or so homeowners that have bought into their program in Souther California will be left holding the bag.
The salespeople at American Solar Direct are trained to tell prospective commitments to their lease contracts to call the California Solar Initiative for a referral. They tell the customer that the CSI loves them and will give a great referral. I called the California Solar Initiative and asked for a referral on American Solar Direct. I was told that they don't give referrals on companies. American Solar Direct is on their list of contractors, but they encourage any prospective purchaser of solar to get at least 3 bids from different companies. This is not the message that the trainers at American Solar Direct want prospects to receive. Their motto is, "no is better than a maybe." If the customers receiving the presentation do not sign on the night it is presented they will not sign period. The deal will be lost. So the customers must be pushed until they flat out refuse and must not be left to think about it. Obviously it sounds good to tell the customer to call the California Solar Initiative for a referral, but the salespeople from American Solar Direct don't really want them to do it.
If you have been employed by American Solar Direct and have been a victim of 1099 misclassification or were retaliated against because you stood up for your independent contractor rights then you can participate in the criminal investigations being done by the Internal Revenue Service and the Employment Development Department. If you have been told that because you are an independent contractor you must volunteer your time and gas to drive all over town to required meetings, or given a minimum number of days you must work each week or a minimum number of hours to be worked each day or have been terminated or threatened to be terminated if you don't cooperate with these illegal demands then you are a victim of these crimes. The IRS considers these crimes to at epidemic proportions in our country today. They say to make no mistake that the people engaging in these acts are criminals. Because they are not paying their fair share of employment tax, they are victimizing every person in our society. If you know of people who are committing these crimes you have a patriotic duty to report it.
To report it to the IRS go to
Download Form 3949-A fill it out and mail it to
Internal Revenue Service
Fresno, CA 93888
Reporting to the EDD is easier and can be submitted on-line at
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- Solar Electric System
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