The rise of solar energy is bright, but unfortunately, so are the opportunities for scammers. So as a customer shopping around, it’s important to navigate the solar landscape with care to avoid falling victim to fraudulent schemes. Here’s some pointers to get you started on identifying and avoiding solar scams here in Australia.
Avoid on-the-spot sign-ups
Whether it’s a door-knock or a cold call you receive, be aware of high-pressure sales tactics. If someone insists on an immediate sign-up, demands payment on the spot, or avoids providing company details, it’s likely a scam. Always ask for company details and take the time to verify their legitimacy.
The dangers of ‘free’ solar panel offers
If you already have a solar system, some scams are offering ‘free’ solar panels as bait. But the catch is often a downgrade in quality. High-quality panels are valuable, and scammers may swap them with cheap, low-quality alternatives. Be cautious. If an offer seems to good to be true, it probably is. Especially when it involves swapping existing panels.
Telemarketing and its pitfalls
Telemarketing is by no means illegal, in fact, a lot of operators use this form of marketing. But it can be a breeding ground for scams. Telemarketers can sell your interest to retail companies, leading to unsolicited calls. If you’re on the Do Not Call Register and still receive calls, it’s a red flag. Genuine telemarkets respect this register, so be way if they don’t.
Social Media scams
Scams are happening every day on social media. Unbelievably good deals and ads might be a ploy to bait unsuspecting customers. Before committing, research the company, read customer reviews, meet in person and at their office, and obtain comparative quotes from other local and reputable companies.
Government incentives and rebates
Be sure that any government incentives and rebates referenced, are in fact real. View Australia-wide solar incentives and rebates.
How to protect yourself
- Contact and research: If approached and unsure, verify the company’s identity on your own time. This could be by verifying contact details, website, social media and a physical office space
- Look for accreditation and use Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retails: These retailers, like us, commit to responsible practices and industry best standards. Ensure your installer is CEC accredited
- Check reviews and ratings: Before committing to any deal, check online reviews and ratings of the company to gauge its credibility and reputation
- Report scams: If you suspect you’ve been targeted by a scam, report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) via the SCAMwatch website, or, by calling 1300 795 995
We talk about how to evaluate your solar quotes, which you might also find helpful.
While there’s no doubt solar energy comes with immense benefits, it’s crucial to have your wits about you. Stay informed and adopt vigilant practices to protect yourself from falling prey to scams (solar, or otherwise). Remember, a great solar investment starts with informed decision-making. You can start your solar journey with our guide, am I ready for solar?
*This article has been published for guidance purposes only. In no way is article an exhaustive and complete way in which a consumer could be scammed. Always conduct your own, up-to-date research and seek guidance from trusted authorities. Article references information from SCAMwatch and the Clean Energy Council.