Beware the 'home energy audit' sales pitch

- SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - If you get an offer for a free or low cost energy audit, you may want to hold off. Before deciding if that "auditor" should have access to your home! Just listen to what we uncovered while investigating home energy audits

It’s a warning about home energy audits.

“He presented himself as if he were an official of some sort," said homeowner Debbie Katt.

Like many, Katt wanted to cut back on electric bills. So, when someone appeared at her door offering a free home energy audit, she agreed.

“He was with the state, he was with the city, he was with the local energy company,” said Katt.

But after a quick check of the house, the so-called "auditor" turned on the hard sell and said she needed to buy a $4,000 solar blanket for her attic.

That's when she realized the "auditor" was really a salesperson.

“I was mad the he misguided us and I was mad he took all our time like that,” said Katt.

It's a sales pitch the Consumer Federation of America calls an emerging energy audit scam.

“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,” said Susan Grant with the Consumer Federation of America.

Grant says the so called auditors often imply they're with a government agency or utility company.

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

Shoddy, substandard work can also be the result.

“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,” said Grant.

Debbie didn’t take the sales pitch, but warns bout the salesperson's persistence.

“The formula is these people get in your house and once they're in your house it’s hard to get them out of the house,” said Katt.

Many utility companies do offer legitimate free energy audits but most likely won’t solicit you.

Experts warn that if anyone does come to your door, be sure to ask for identification or even call the utility company to verify that person’s employment.

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