Vivint Solar accused of fraud, unfair business practices in New Mexico lawsuit

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ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas filed a lawsuit against Lehi-based Vivint Solar, alleging that the company was defrauding customers and engaging in unfair business practices.

Balderas filed the suit on Thursday in New Mexico’s 2nd Judicial District Court, according to an emailed statement from New Mexico Attorney General’s Office spokesman James Hallinan.

The complaint alleges that the company’s employees used “high-pressure” sales tactics in order to persuade customers to sign 20-year solar electricity purchasing contracts.

Under those contracts, customers would be required to buy the electricity generated from solar energy systems placed on their homes at a rate that would increase 72 percent over the 20-year period, according to Hallinan.

The sales tactics also were used to persuade people into believing the 20-year contracts would save them a significant amount of money, according to Hallinan.

The lawsuit also alleges that Vivint Solar has filed improper notices in consumer real estate records. Those notices have in some cases clouded the titles for homes and made the homes difficult to sell for homeowners.

“I will fight to protect the rights of all New Mexico consumers and hold giant, out-of-state corporations accountable who abuse, mislead and employ dishonest practices to defraud our hard-working families,” Balderas said.

There are thousands of Vivint customers in New Mexico, according to Hallinan.

In an emailed statement, Vivint Solar representatives said they were taking the allegations seriously, but believed the lawsuit lacked merit.

"Our commitment to our customers is to provide them the opportunity to adopt clean, renewable energy while always adhering to the highest ethical sales standards," the statement reads. "We believe we have honored this commitment in New Mexico and that our practices in the state comply with applicable law."

Company representatives declined to comment further on the pending litigation.

Vivint Solar was founded in 2011 as an offshoot of Vivint Smart Home, according to the company’s website.

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