KSL INVESTIGATES

Gephardt: Homeowner Left In Dark After Outdoor Lighting Malfunction

Mar 5, 2020, 6:07 PM | Updated: 7:55 pm

PAYSON, Utah – When you pay for permanent outdoor lighting, you expect it to last. A Utah County woman said hers stopped working after a year, and the company stopped responding.

Norma Christensen decided she was done climbing on the roof to hang Christmas lights, so she made an investment – permanent lights attached to the awning all around her Payson home.

The lights can be made to shine in several colors. She used them beyond the holiday season. Her home beamed red on Valentine’s Day or blue when her BYU Cougars win.

The lights were not cheap. She paid $2564.62.

After a little more than one year, Norma said they began to malfunction. Only half would turn on at a time.

It was a simple fix. She reached out to the company, Switch On Lights, which installed the lights. She said she was told they’d be out to fix the issue, but they didn’t show.

Then the company stopped responding. Despite calling and messaging several times in the late-December and through the month of January, she said all she got back was crickets.

“It’s frustrating because they promised me when they put the lights in, they would come back anytime,” she said.

Some of the permanent Christmas lights installed on this Payson home do not turn on. (KSL TV) Some of the permanent Christmas lights installed on this Payson home do not turn on. (KSL TV)

Examining the contract, it does not appear the lights came with any official warranty.

There was, however, a guarantee posted on the company’s website that reads, “We will come out and repair lights that burn out or stop working.”

Is that enough to force the company to step up?

KSL took that question to Daniel O’Bannon, director of the Utah Division of Consumer Protection.

“A warranty, to us, is what you can prove,” O’Bannon said.

The Consumer Protection division has the power to cite companies which violate Utah’s business rules.

O’Bannon said when looking at whether a company owes a consumer, they look at everything from contracts, to complaints and, yes, promises made on a website. None of that, though, was as good as a stated warranty which tends to be black and white.

“Things on a website will help, but it can get muddy. It can get gray,” O’Bannon said. “The clearest and most direct way you can hold a company accountable is to get it in writing.”

KSL reached out to the company on Norma’s behalf and they did respond. In an email, the person on the other end blamed his phone.

“Today is the first that I have heard of any of this,” he wrote. “Back in late December, my iPhone bit the dust completely, which will explain why I have not responded to Norma.”

He said his company does do warranty work and “will work to get this resolved as quick as possible.”

Sure enough, Norma said she finally heard back from the company. They came out fixed the lights. The company said the lughts had simply become unplugged.

The company states it has “installed over 100 homes in the past few years” and stand by their product, adding that the “this is not the norm” for them.

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Gephardt: Homeowner Left In Dark After Outdoor Lighting Malfunction