Free Dinner For Two - Not Necessarily A Good Deal
Alternative Power Systems Claims To Reduce Utility Bills 55%
LABELLE, FL. -- Homeowners around the country are receiving colorful postcards inviting them to a free dinner for two at a local restaurant with an "exciting and fun presentation on reducing your utility bills up to 55%."
But the invitation is really to a sales pitch to buy energy saving radient barrier installations and devices. Hendry county, Florida residents this week were offered free dinners at the Log Cabin Bar B Que Restaurant in LaBelle.
After receiving the free dinner invitation to hear about how to reduce electric bills we suspect many will be enticed to call the toll-free number (877) 635-3733 to "confirm reservations" for your and your spouse as required by the card.
We've seen several of these companies pass through our area, and a warning is advised to research the company and the service they want to sell before handing over any down payment or signing up for thousands of dollars in services.
Both companies have received many complaints over the years about their sales tactics and products. Alternate Power Systems coincidentally has the same Florida corporate agent as Utility Management and Light Power did.
We checked out the previous company providing the last "free dinner" offer in LaBelle, and checked with a Better Business Bureau. It's revealing.
Utility Management Association came through town March 25, 2007 with the similar "energy saving" offers to local homeowners coming to their free dinners back then. Their main target audience seemed to be elderly homeowners in small towns.
The company also sold water heater insulation and water saving shower heads.
Consumers have reported that their utility bills have risen or remained the same since the Utility Shield product was installed. Notwithstanding a "guarantee" offered by the company, customers say they did not receive a copy of the guarantee when purchasing the product. The BBB received complaints about the company's selling practices, advertising, service, repairs, and warranty issues. The company says the number of complaints is small compared to the number of units sold, but has refused to provide the total number of units sold.
The BBB says UMA company representatives had given "unqualified claims that the product will decrease energy consumption in a home by 25% or more." The BBB was unable to substantiate any energy savings. At the time, the company was advertising on its postcards to prospects "We can reduce your monthly energy bills by 20-50% Guaranteed!" The BBB challenged the usage of promises of "guaranteed" energy savings. The company then changed the advertising to "up to 55% guaranteed." Now LPS say "lower and possibly eliminate...utility bills."
Ironically, UMA told the BBB in response to the complaints against them that "it does not guarantee specific results, and that any incidents involving promises of specific savings occurred as a result of errors, or independent action by sales representatives."
In December 2006 Utility Management Association signed an agreement with the BBB to cease use of the BBB name and other unauthorized statements in sales representations.
The Florida Solar Energy Center has an extensive article on attic radiant heat barrier reflection systems for Florida homes and says any savings on energy bills will depend on the energy efficiency of your home now, bearing in mind that any possible savings on electric cooling costs may amount to about 10% as a roof is not the only location heat enters the home.
The bottom line: enjoy your "free" dinner but be very cautious about any savings claims made by this company's representatives, especially for a "power saver" box. And be on the look out for possible use of un-licensed contractors.
And calculate the cost of attic radiant barrier installation over actual electric bill savings of what the Florida Solar Energy Center says may only be 8 to 12%, not enough to make it worth while unless the installation costs are very low.
And check the history of the company in your state. Past checks show many of these type of companies go out of business fairly quickly once complaints start coming in.
Florida Solar Energy Center Report - Attic Radiant Barrier Facts
Comments About "Alternate Power Systems" of Michigan