Buyer beware telemarketing and door knocking by solar retailers in Perth

It is conceived within many industries, including the Solar industry, that door knocking and cold calling is not a reputable method of marketing. Clean NRG Solar has experienced an increase in the number of complaints about Solar companies telemarketing and door-knocking on Perth doors. The problem with these forms of marketing is that they are sometimes not carried out with the best interests of the consumer in mind. Subsequently, retailers who don’t follow the “Clean Energy Council – Code of Conduct” often suffer and it leaves a stain on the industry.

Recently Clean NRG Solar fell victim to such crimes. We were contacted by a member of the public complaining that they had been door knocked at their home in Spearwood by a company posing as Clean NRG Solar. The individual turned up quite late one evening and apparently used unsolicited and immoral sales techniques.

The Department of Commerce Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety recently announced that a Solar company was fined $15,000 by the Perth Magistrates Court after being fined on 31 August 2016.

“Green Engineering Pty Ltd, which operates nationally, was found guilty of failing to comply with provisions of the Australian Consumer Law (ACL) which set out what salespeople must do when they visit consumers at their home uninvited or contact them by phone.”

A door knocking salesperson from Green Engineering signed up a Perth couple to purchase solar panels for $12,000, which is considerably higher than the industry average for a residential Solar PV system in Perth.

“The company salesperson failed to inform the consumers that the purpose of his visit was to negotiate an agreement to supply and install solar panels and he did not provide a company address. He also failed to provide information about the consumers’ right to terminate the agreement within the ten business day cooling off period as required by the Australian Consumer Law. There was also no information about how the consumers could cancel the agreement or about the requirement that no payment should be made or goods or services supplied during the cooling-off period.”

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said, “Cold calling and door to door trading laws are designed to protect consumers, particularly the more vulnerable such as seniors in our community, who are susceptible to high-pressure sales techniques and may regret signing the contract given more time to reflect.

Do Not Call! The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) and the Clean Energy Council are both very concerned about the telemarketing techniques used by some Solar Businesses in Perth. 20% of complaints now made to the ACMA are a result of solar telemarketing.

The ACMA has received thousands of complaints from Australians on the Do Not Call Register this year about calls from solar businesses and call centres offering solar services. This indicates a high level of non-compliance by solar businesses using telemarketing and it is causing a significant nuisance to Australian consumers.

The AMA states “Just one call to a registered number could result in a penalty of $3,400, and the maximum penalty is $170,000 for each day on which contraventions occurred.”

As a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer, Clean NRG Solar prides itself in being a reputable Solar Retailer in Perth. Based in Osborne Park, with an open-door policy to our clients, we reach our clients through our industry recognition and word of mouth referrals. Providing superior customer service throughout the entire sales process with transparent communication is key. We do not engage in unsolicited sales techniques

How can you protect yourself when going Solar?

• As always, Clean NRG Solar always recommends doing your research. All it takes is to Google the company name followed by the word “review”.
• Check the company name on the ASIC website.
• Don’t fall for “slick” sales techniques or pressure sales tactics.
• Always choose a Clean Energy Council Retailer which adheres to the “Solar Retailer Code of Conduct”.