California financing program causing some concerns for some South Valley residents

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A contractor knocked on Andrew Peterson door last year and told the father of two he could replace Peterson's windows for practically nothing. (KFSN)

A contractor knocked on Andrew Peterson door last year and told the father of two he could replace Peterson's windows for practically nothing. It was going to do be done through a program called 'Hero,' which provides financing for energy efficient products to homeowners.

"The advantage to this program, as they sold it to us, is basically we could deduct all the cost to our taxes. So basically we could essentially get it for free is what they promised us, because you pay through your property taxes."

So with that in mind, and temperatures rising by the day, Peterson and his wife decided to do it. It was a $30,000 expense on their 1970's home.

But Peterson said a year later when they sat down with a tax professional to prepare their taxes; they learned that property tax deduction was not going to happen.

"It's just frustrating because I think they were deceptive in the way they sold it."

We reached out to Hero about Peterson's claim and a spokesperson said, "Hero strictly prohibits contractors from making any representation about tax deductibility-- full stop. And violating that or any other standard can lead to removal from the program."

The statement then goes on to says, "Each homeowner must initial that they understand they should consult their own tax advisor about potential deductibility."

However, in a two page letter Peterson said the contractor assured them that would not be a problem-- even calculating out the monthly cost with the energy efficient savings and tax benefits.

Peterson said it came out to about $35 a month, but instead they are paying $300 a month on windows for the next 15 years.

"In the end you are paying a lot of money for a product."

The Tulare County Association of Realtors said it is going to the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday to stop the program from operating in the county.

"They could be in the hole, they could owe more on their home than what it's worth, and that is a big problem-- nobody wins in this," said Ed Morton, Tulare County Association of Realtors.

We spoke with a Visalia homeowner who said their experience with Hero has been pleasant-- and they say they were never told it would be tax deductible.

Hero does admit that about 80 contractors have been let go for not following protocol, but the specific violations were not disclosed.

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