A Madrid man hoped to save thousands on his electric bill by buying a wind turbine, but instead he lost thousands of dollars.
Kurt Niemier cut a check for a $4,500 down payment to a Texas company on the turbine in October 2011.
“A lot of stress, money has been very, very tight,” said Niemier.
The company promised delivery that Christmas, then by the end of the year and then by March. In April, Niemier received an email from the company saying it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Niemier said he hasn’t been able to recover any of his money.
“I’m pretty certain I will never see a dime,” said Niemier.
Bill Haman is from the Iowa Energy Center, an organization that provides information and tools for energy consumers. He said his office has heard from many consumers with the same problem.
“There are cases out there where nothing was delivered, but substantial, sometimes over a $100,000 of down payment were made up front,” said Haman.
Bill Brauch is the Director at the Iowa Attorney General’s Office Consumer Protection Division. He said his office has received about 40 complaints since 2010 on about 12 different wind energy companies.
“The problem is often the seller, the distributor, is a victim too in some sense. They have a manufacturer who doesn’t come through for them sometimes. That leaves the consumers out a lot of money and without a lot of recourse. It’s a difficult situation,” said Brauch.
Brauch said there are legitimate wind energy companies out there. He said before you invest in a turbine, do your research, check out the distributor and manufacturer very carefully.
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