TUCSON (KVOA) - Many customers of Arizona solar company Jet Solar tell the News 4 Tucson Investigators they are still waiting for finished work after more than a year in some cases.
The N4T Investigators broke the story of dozens of customers who were facing extremely delayed projects more than a year ago. The Arizona Registrar of Contractors revoked the license to do solar from the company's owner Lerrill Jones after our reporting.
The company now seems to be out of business, its website is down but the N4T Investigators could find no records of the company filing for bankruptcy.
Several customers told the N4T Investigators what they were dealing with.
“Nobody gets a hold of you," Pablo Mojarro told us.
“I can’t afford to pay for solar panels that don’t work and APS the whole point was to eliminate APS and have a cheaper bill not pay double," Nicole Burns told us.
Brian Schultz is a marine veteran who trusted Jet Solar and hired them because they are advertised as a veteran owned business. He is still waiting for his solar panels to be turned on after more than a year.
“All I need is for somebody to come flip the switch, that’s all I want is to get the thing running," he said.
He had paid for three bills on his loan, which is handled by the company Dividend Finance, but Dividend stopped billing him after receiving multiple complaints about Jet Solar projects.
The N4T Investigators received the following statement from a Dividend Finance spokesperson:
“Our customers are our first priority. We are no longer billing Jet Solar customers who have not been able to get their systems operational. We are working with local contractors to complete those projects at no cost to the homeowner.”
Schultz said he is happy the bills stopped coming but he feels abandoned by Jet Solar and Dividend because he said both have not been responsive to him and he fears the bills may start again without notice.
“I’ve even called them and they say they have no answers for me, just nothing," he said.
The N4T Investigators have also interviewed former employees who told us that they walked away from the company because they felt customers were being taken advantage of.
"They believed in us, trusted us but what ended up happening to them is they ended up getting messed over by upper management, Lerrill," said David Puenta.
Last year Lerrill Jones did an interview with our Chief Investigative Reporter Chorus Nylander. He blamed most of the issues on being a start up company and accused Dividend Finance of withholding funds preventing him from having the cash flow to get the jobs done.
"When you intentionally want to derail an organization, a small one like us, you hold the money. I can't pay my electricians to finish the jobs. I can't pay my customer care center to receive phone calls to take care of the customer," Jones said.
But the N4T Investigators have spoken to customers who have used one of three different financial companies for their projects that we know of. The companies used have been Dividend, Mosaic or Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union.
Last year the CEO of Tucson Old Pueblo Credit Union told us they stopped issuing loans involving Jet Solar after receiving two customer complaints. It's unclear if that relationship ever continued because TOPCU stopped communicating with us.
Schultz said he doesn't know what to believe he just feels caught in the middle.
“I was caught in the crosshairs and the crossfire and at this juncture screwed," he said.
If you have a story you'd like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to look into email us at email@example.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.