Energy Audit Scams, What You Need To Know

A warning about a new scam hitting homeowners across the country.

If you get an offer for a free or low cost energy audit, listen up it could be a sales pitch.

Debbie Katt is interested in cutting back on electric bills and making her home more energy efficient, so when someone appeared at her door offering a free home energy audit, she agreed.

Debbie Katt says, "He presented himself as if he were an official of some sort. He was with the state, he was with the city, and he was with the local energy company."

However, after a quick check of the attic, windows and doors, the so-called "auditor" turned on the hard sell.

He told the Katt's they needed to buy a $4,000 solar blanket for the attic.

That is when they realized the "auditor" was really a salesperson.

Debbie says, "I was mad that he misguided us and I was mad he took all our time like that."

Debbie was just one victim of what the "Consumer Federation of America" calls an emerging energy audit scam.

Susan Grant with the Consumer Federation of America says, "The scammers send consumers post cards or make phone calls offering them free energy audits that will save them hundreds of dollars a month on their utility bills."

Grant says the auditors often imply they are with a government agency or utility company, but

Susan Grant says, "Their real intent is to get into consumers homes and sell them things that actually don't save them any money at all."

And shoddy, substandard work can be the result!

Jason Ohman says, "We've seen cases where work has not been completed fully or where people were not really benefiting from any of the savings they were told."

Phone solicitations for free home energy audits are among the fastest growing "do not call list" complaints around the country.

Debbie said no to the sales pitch she got, but warns, the person with the pitch can be persistent.

Debbie says, "The formula is these people get in your house and once they're in your house its hard to get them out of the house."

Many utility companies do offer legitimate free energy audits, but they most likely won't cold call or solicit you.

You can call your local gas or electric company to set it up.