Unfortunately, the solar industry is not immune to businesses and individuals who try to scam consumers. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here’s some tips on avoiding solar scams.
Solar scams often involve people claiming to be offering government rebates, selling energy saving devices or giving away free solar systems. In a time where there are a number of government rebate programs around Australia, it can be hard to know if the company you have been contacted by, and the deal they are offering, is genuine.
Generally, we recommend avoiding people trying to sell solar through:
If you receive an unexpected call, email or house visit from someone offering any of the above, be aware there is a strong possibility that you have been targeted by a solar scam, especially if they demand payment or to sign-up on the spot. If you are unsure, ask for their company details so you can call them at another time to take up the offer so you can check they are legitimate. If they refuse and say you have to sign up on the spot, it is likely a scam.
Some solar scams claim to be offering to replace your solar panels for brand new panels free of charge. Be aware of offers like these, as the 'free' panels are very likely to be cheap and low quality and you may be swapping your high-quality panels for an inferior low-quality product.
Telemarketing is a completely legal practice if done correctly, but it’s good to be aware of what telemarketing practices are so you have a better idea of whether you feel you can trust the person you are speaking to.
Telemarketing companies often call consumers to gauge whether they are interested in buying solar. If you say you are interested, your details can then be sold to solar retail companies who can contact you to make a sale.
There are legitimate telemarketing businesses, but unfortunately there are dodgy businesses as well and these businesses often don’t care whether you are on the government’s Do Not Call Register. Telemarketers must abide by certain rules and one of these rules is to not call people who have signed up to this register. If you receive a call and you are on the Do Not Call Register, you can be sure the company is doing the wrong thing and not someone you want to trust.
In the age of social media there are more companies who try to reach consumers through advertising on these platforms. Again, unscrupulous companies can just as easily advertise on these platforms as well respected companies.
If the deal they are advertising seems too good to be true, it probably is, and the quality of the products and service you will receive might be very poor, leaving you worse off in the long run.
If you do see advertising on social media that you are interested in, it’s worthwhile doing your research on the company, reading reviews from other customers and getting some comparative quotes from other companies.
Some companies may claim they are calling on behalf of the Clean Energy Council to sell solar. These claims are untrue. The Clean Energy Council does not sell solar systems, and we will never contact you offering to sell solar or offer you ‘free’ solar. Other scams using our name have involved door-to-door sales people using fake Clean Energy Council logos. We will never send out door-to-door salespeople representing the Clean Energy Council. Please contact us if you have concerns you have been targeted by any scam using our name or logo.
If you have been approached by an organisation or salesperson and you are unsure, always contact the organisation independently via the number listed in the telephone directory or website to verify their identity. Also check reviews of the company online.
To ensure you are getting your solar from someone you can trust. We recommend that you use a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer. Approved Solar Retailers have committed to responsible sales and marketing activities, and industry best practice. They will also provide a five-year, whole-of-system warranty and will ensure a Clean Energy Council accredited installer sets up your solar system. These companies have been through a rigorous assessment process to ensure they are working with consumers’ interests in mind.
You can visit the Federal Government’s SCAMwatch website for more information on protecting yourself from scams. You can also put your number on the Do Not Call Register to avoid getting unwanted calls.
If you are the target of a scam, please report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the SCAMwatch website or by calling 1300 795 995.
The Australian Government offers genuine rebates for installing solar panels, and your state or territory may also have rebate programs available. For more information, visit our government programs page to see what genuine programs are on offer.