Buckeye couple throw $4,000 to the wind

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

BUCKEYE, Ariz. -- Karen and David Huff are energy conscious and thought installing solar panels on the roof of their Buckeye home would be a smart idea.

So, they hired a company called Salt River Solar and Wind.

The company's TV ad promised, "it uses the highest quality direct products and the Better Business Bureau gives it an A plus rating."

"It all seemed great," Karen Huff said. "I read the contract, we went and checked their credentials out, all seemed good."

The Huffs signed a contract way back in 2011 with Salt River Solar and Wind, paid the company $4,000 and then waited for the panels to be installed.
"The solar panels they were going to put up were going to be on the west-facing roof line and over the garage on the south-facing roof line," David Huff said.

However, not long after getting all that money, Salt River Solar and Wind said they had hit a snag.

"We got the APS permits, everything that was required and everything was running like clockwork, come January they said the government, January 2012 government funding had run out," Karen Huff said.

3 On Your Side discovered the Better Business Bureau now gives the company an "F" rating.

And it gets worse, the Arizona Registrar of Contractors said there are 39 open complaints against Salter River Solar and Wind and its license has been revoked.

Karen Huff said she felt, "cheated, it's an invasion, they just stole our money."
3 On Your Side also went by the company's last known address in Surprise, but it was empty.

A check with the Arizona Corporation Commission lists Michael A. Fricker as the company's statutory agent. 3 On Your Side went to his house and although we saw solar panels installed on his roof, no one ever answered the door.

However, a representative from Salt River Solar and Wind called us back and claimed that the business now operates out of a virtual office.

The representative also said that the lack of federal money caused energy rebates to dry up, forcing the company to downsize and left many customers like the Huffs with nothing to show for their money.

The Huffs said they're disgusted and want to know where their $4,000 went.

"That was just like throwing the money away, threw it in the Salt River wind," Karen Huff said.

Salt River Solar and Wind claimed they are looking for investors to get their business moving again, but the Huffs and other customers who complained to 3 On Your Side said they are not holding their breath.