By Chris McKinnon


BOSTON (CBS) – Tesla is known for its luxury electric vehicles, but they are also in the solar business after taking over Solar City, a major player in the industry. Several Massachusetts customers were frustrated when their panels stopped working and Tesla was slow to respond, so they reached out to the I-Team’s Call for Action.

One of those customers was David Charbonneau of Auburn. He had his panels installed about four years ago. They help keep his electricity bill low, particularly in the warmer months when he is heating an in-ground pool in his backyard.

“It’s worked out phenomenally, really,” he said. “It’s a no-brainer.”

Or it was a no-brainer until last spring when David says he got a call from Tesla saying they needed to do some routine maintenance. According to David, the technician said there was a problem, but he didn’t have the parts to fix it, so he shut down the system.

When David called Tesla, he says he was told the parts were not the only problem.

“They said they don’t have enough crews out there that can do the work.” When David pressed Tesla on a date to make the repairs? “I was told it would be sometime in 2020 and I was not happy.”

Customers reached out to WBZ’s Call For Action to complain about service from Tesla Solar. (WBZ-TV)

Since we spoke to David in October, several other viewers contacted us with the same story, including a Hyde Park homeowner who did not want to be identified.

“I’ve been off-line for 11 months now,” he said.

For two months, we tried emailing and calling Tesla, but the company never responded.

Then we contacted the Attorney General’s office who sent us copies of dozens of complaints against Tesla, many with the same issue.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office told WBZ in a written statement:

“Our office is aware of this issue and is working to review and assist consumers with any complaints we receive. We encourage consumers who have concerns to reach out to us 617-727-8400, or to file directly through our website at www.mass.gov/ago.”

“As solar expands in Massachusetts, our office is taking a proactive approach and working with companies to make sure they understand the law. We recently held a workshop with representatives from the solar industry and are continuing to work with them to enhance consumer protection practices.”

Dave was one of the consumers who worked with the Attorney General’s office. He told us in early December that a subcontractor came out and removed all 40 panels from his roof. According to David, the company said they would be repaired and re-installed in about four weeks. Tesla told him it would be two weeks.

He has his fingers crossed and says he hopes Tesla will improve their customer service.

“You can’t leave people high and dry.”

The Hyde Park owner, whose panels have not worked in nearly a year, told us that a company came out to his house as well. Crews worked on the panels and re-installed them. He tells us the panels are back up and running, but it is difficult to say if they are working the way they should, because there are so few sunlight hours at this time of year.

You can reach I-Team’s Call For Action by emailing wbzcallforaction@cbs.com. Or you can call 617-787-7070, Tuesday – Friday between 11:00AM and 1:30PM.

Chris McKinnon

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