Every year, scams cost Australians, and the economy millions of dollars. Unfortunately, the solar industry is no exception with some unscrupulous individuals looking to make a quick buck and take advantage of the trusting solar consumer.
With so many solar companies to choose from, it can be hard to decipher the genuine from the non-genuine, so we have complied a list of DO’S & DON’T’S to help you avoid getting caught out…
SOME THINGS WE RECOMMEND YOU DO
Your Research & Due Diligence
Most people do their research online when they are considering installing solar as it’s the most convenient way to assess and compare different companies. But beware! Most solar sales companies pay to influence your online search results! A common one is paying to be the top ranked search result when typing solar into the Google Search engine (this often means these companies are not the best, but perhaps willing to pay for the most advertising).
Instead of doing a broad internet search, our recommendation is to ask your family, friends, neighbours or work colleagues for some recommendations of solar companies. Once you have a few names, then you can do some online searching. Look for a physical address, direct phone number and email on the company’s website. The business should be easy to contact and helpful but not pushy, so if you call them and this is the case then you are on the right track!
Another great tip is to check the company’s Google reviews! Google reviews can’t be paid for or manipulated, so this is often an objective way to see how customers feel about their work and service. If you cannot find many, or find some undesirable comments, best to steer clear and find someone else!
Familiarise yourself with current legislation
To avoid getting caught out by scammers posing as government or energy company officials, familiarise yourself with the current solar panel incentives so that you know what you’re talking about. Remember, the Australian government will never ask for a fee to claim a rebate either in person, over the phone or online and if you are contacted in this way do not give out any personal information.
Become Aware of the Post-Installation Process
You should only book your job with a company that is willing to provide a decent workmanship warranty. This should include:
- A minimum of 10 years warranty for defective materials or workmanship
- Necessary repairs
SOME THINGS YOU SHOULD REALLY NOT DO
Use a Company that Subcontracts
Some ‘Solar Companies’ are actually just marketing businesses that subcontract out the work to another company or, many different companies. Many of these providers distribute work to independent subcontractors – who often do not provide the level of quality, detail or care that most clients expect. Our team of tradesmen and apprentices are responsible for adhering to a stringent set of work quality and customer service standards. We do the sale, the proposal process and the actual job. We know what is happening from start to finish. Often times, solar salespeople have no technical knowledge of the products or installation practices, we often question how they can sell consumers an installation process when they aren’t qualified? We let our customers decide on that..
Purchase from a door-to-door salesperson or Cold Caller
This is an obvious one however it is still important enough to mention. If you receive an unexpected call, email or house visit from someone trying to offer you a ‘great deal’ or are overly keen to ‘sign you up today’, these are definite red flags. If you are unsure, you can always ask them for their company details and do your own research before making a commitment.
Look for the Cheapest Option
The old saying ‘if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is’ applies here. Whilst the solar panels may be described to you as ‘free’, they come in exchange for financing agreements that may hurt you over time. You should also be way of those offering to replace your current solar panels for ‘free’ as they maybe swapping them for cheaper, inferior quality panels.