Design 1 Group LLC Fined Over $220,000 for Deceptive Practices

In a landmark consumer protection case, the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office has successfully prosecuted Design 1 Group LLC. It is a solar power sales and installation company, which now faces a substantial financial judgment exceeding $220,000. This judgment resolves numerous complaints about the company’s deceptive practices in the Wichita area.

Details of the Legal Action

On April 15, Sedgwick County District Judge Faith Johnson issued a default judgement against the Tennessee-based company for a series of violations that significantly breached consumer trust and contravened Kansas state laws. The infractions include:

  • Operating without a proper business license.
  • Misleading customers about the issuance of permits and the scheduling of system inspections.
  • Failure to install solar power systems correctly, compromising system efficiency and safety.
  • Omitting crucial information on the orientation of solar panels which critically affects energy savings.
  • Depriving customers of their right to a three-day cancellation period as required by law.

Financial Repercussions for Design 1 Group

The court’s judgement stipulates that Design 1 Group LLC must compensate through various financial penalties, outlined as follows:

  • $106,780 directed towards restitution for consumers directly affected by these malpractices.
  • $110,000 levied as civil penalties to discourage such deceitful behavior in the future.
  • Additional costs for court and investigative proceedings, ensuring comprehensive scrutiny and justice.

Consumer Advice from the District Attorney

Recognizing the complexities involved in purchasing solar power systems, District Attorney Marc Bennett has underscored the necessity for consumer vigilance. Prospective buyers are urged to consider the following critical aspects:

  • System Lifespan and Transferability: Potential buyers should inquire about the system’s operational longevity and if the contract can be transferred to subsequent homeowners.
  • Cost Analysis: It’s vital to understand all costs upfront, including potential savings from rebates and tax credits.
  • Energy Output and Savings: Buyers should have a clear understanding of how much energy the system will generate and how the orientation of solar panels can maximize energy production.
  • Vendor Credentials and Warranties: Ensuring the seller is licensed and checking their customer service record can safeguard against fraudulent practices.

Prohibitions and Future Operations of Design 1 Group

The court has implemented stringent measures against Design 1 Group, mandating that the company halt all business operations in Kansas until it complies with all licensing requirements and acquires the necessary permits. These rigorous restrictions aim to prevent future violations and protect consumers from potential exploitation.

The District Attorney’s office is actively engaging in public education about the risks associated with purchasing solar power systems and encourages thorough research and careful evaluation of sellers before entering into contracts. This case emphasizes the essential need for due diligence and highlights the crucial role that legal authorities play in safeguarding consumer rights.

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