How to Avoid Solar Panel Scams in Australia

Fast read

Beware of dodgy solar sales tactics when dealing with a solar salesperson, check their knowledge. A knowledgeable one should explain solar workings, product origins, and benefits. Be cautious if they push to meet both decision-makers at the appointment, pressuring for an on-the-spot sale.

Watch out for excessively high or low prices, as they may indicate poor product quality or hidden costs. Be wary of large upfront payments; a 10% deposit is standard. High-pressure sales tactics, claiming limited-time offers or exclusive deals, should raise red flags. Be cautious of "boss approval" tactics and unrealistic promises, like a zero energy bill forever.

How to spot a solar panel scam

One common red flag to watch out for is high-pressure sales tactics. If a solar salesperson tries to pressure you into making a quick decision or rushes you into signing a contract, be cautious. A reputable company will give you the time you need to consider your options and won’t push you into a hasty decision so here’s how to watch out for solar panel scams.

Another warning sign is unrealistic promises of savings. If a salesperson claims that you’ll save a huge amount on your electricity bills or that you’ll never have to pay an electricity bill again, be sceptical. While solar energy can result in a price reduction of your electricity costs, it’s unlikely to eliminate them entirely.

Transparency is also key when dealing with solar salespeople. If the salesperson is vague about the details of the solar system, such as the equipment being used, the solar panel installation process, and warranties, it’s a red flag. A trustworthy company will provide clear and transparent information about all aspects of the solar panel system.

Knowledge

The first thing to look for is their knowledge of solar. Do they appear to know what they discuss, understand, and be able to answer questions? Can they explain effectively how solar works and the origins of their products?

The technical features and how they benefit you. A knowledgeable solar salesperson should have a comprehensive understanding of the different types of solar panels, inverters, batteries, and mounting systems available in the market.

trust solar installers on roof

Will your partner be home?

This is a common tactic high-pressure salespeople use to be able to close the sale on the spot. This allows them to sell to both decision-makers on the spot and close the sale, avoiding waiting until you, the customer, have spoken with their partner and have the time to compare quotes and more information and reveal their dishonest tactics.

While it is always better to have all the decision-makers simultaneously explain the options and handle the questions, the dodgy tactics come when they try to close the sale and get the signature and deposit at the appointment.

High price

A common tactic for solar panel scammers is to start with an exorbitantly high price and then negotiate down to a price that is still likely high for a signature on the spot. This could often be done by saying, we will give you a $X discount for having a sign out the front promoting the company. A quality system (without batteries) should be around $1 to 1.20 per watt of system capacity, give or take.

Low price

Conversely, an extremely low price can also raise concerns. Such a low price might indicate that the quality of the products, especially solar panels and inverters, is questionable. Manufacturers might use cheaper materials or cut corners to reduce costs, compromising the durability and efficiency of the equipment.

In addition to potential quality issues with the products, a low price could also mean shortcuts in the installation process. Proper installation is crucial for the performance and reliability of a solar system. If corners are cut during installation, it could lead to problems like inefficient energy production, frequent breakdowns, or even safety hazards.

So, while a low price might seem appealing at first, it’s important to consider the long-term implications. Investing in quality products and professional installation might cost more upfront, but it can save you money and headaches in the long run by ensuring a reliable and efficient solar energy system.

Large deposit or payment upfront

Under Australian consumer law, the company can only request a 10% deposit before work is completed. This is a significant red flag if they request or press for more.

High-pressure sales tactics solar panel scam

If they are putting pressure on you to buy on the spot, for whatever reason, whether it’s a short-term special package, “end of rebates”, or limited product availability, then hold off. More than likely, they are trying to lock you into a sale not to give you the opportunity for a comparison quote and to learn more about solar and find a better solution.

door knocking salesperson
Door knocking isn’t a good sign

Let me call my boss for a price authorisation solar panel scam

This is a common tactic used by businesses to make it seem like they’re offering you a special deal or discounted price. They might present it as a way to get your approval or to make you feel like you’re getting a better deal than usual. However, in many cases, this tactic is more about perception than actual savings.

In reality, the so-called “special price” often isn’t as special as it seems. The company might inflate the initial price to make the discounted offer seem better, or they could add hidden costs and fees that cancel out any savings. Sometimes, to justify the lower price, they might compromise on the quality or features of the product or service.

Important for consumers to be aware of these tactics and to do their research before making a purchase. Comparing prices, reading reviews, and understanding the true value of what you’re getting can help you make a more informed decision. Don’t solely base your decision on the promise of a discounted price; instead, consider the overall value and whether the product or service meets your needs and expectations.

Unrealistic promises

The biggest one is that the solar power system will give you a zero bill or credit for life. This rarely happens unless your system is significantly oversized with batteries, etc. For a standard-sized solar system, it won’t happen.

We have even heard salespeople saying their panels work from moonlight which is ridiculous; if the claims sound too good to be true, they probably are.

Remember, it’s essential to approach this evaluation with respect and understanding. Everyone starts somewhere, and a lack of knowledge doesn’t necessarily mean the salesperson is unintelligent or incapable of learning.

Suppose you suspect a salesperson may be inexperienced. In that case, you can politely ask for more information, request additional references, or consider seeking a second opinion from a different solar provider to make an informed decision.

Take your time in the research process to understand solar and get multiple quotes before deciding. Don’t be pressured by the hard sell. Test your solar installer to see if he can answer these questions. 

Subscribe
Notify of
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Find your local installer