Solar company cancels contract with elderly Port St. Lucie man after salesman violates policy

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - An independently contracted salesman was fired, and the agreement to build solar on an elderly man’s house was canceled after the employee broke from company policy, trying to sell to someone over 60 years-old.

Luis Hernandez visits his wife’s mausoleum twice a day to leave her flowers and pray at a Port St. Lucie cemetery. They were married for more than 50 years when she died in 2013. 

Born in Cuba, and now living in Port Saint Lucie on a fixed income, the 83-year-old man was looking to save money on his power bill, so he responded to an ad from Energy Smart Solar to install solar panels.

“I pay $192 every month for electricity. Too much,” he said.

The independently contracted salesman drew up a contract that would cost $27,000.

When his adopted family and neighbors found out, they were concerned that he didn’t fully understand what he had signed up for.

“He just stated that he had a solar company come over, they were going to charge him $27,000 to put the system in which I knew he didn’t have, so that’s where we started,” said neighbor Julie Hoveskeland.

They made contact with Alex Pavlinek, one of Energy Smart Solar’s owners, expressing their concern.

“At that point in time, I totally canceled the contract. It’s not our policy to sell to people 60 years or older,” he said.

The independently contracted salesman was fired, “not because he did anything wrong but because it’s our policy,” Pavlinek said.

“You have to look out for your elders. You have to be aware. Somebody has to always be on top of them. They don’t understand some of the things that are being told to them,” Hoveskeland said. 

Luis would have been over 100 years old until he had it paid off. 

“I’m not going to live for 20 more years,” he said.

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