A recent newspaper report states a Gold Coast solar company has been in receipt of $60,000 in deposits for solar power system from residents of a small Queensland town – but has failed to install them.
The allegations published by The Courier Mail state some of the affected households have been waiting up to seven months for the systems to be installed and the company involved is not returning customer phone calls or responding to email enquiries.
This is the second high profile case in Queensland this year of companies taking deposits and then not installing systems. The earlier case has seen over 150 complaints filed with the Queensland Police Service and the Courier Mail says that company is still under investigation by Queensland’s Department of Fair Trading and the Queensland Police Service fraud squad. The Courier Mail states in that instance, hundred of Gold Coast and Brisbane residents paid $900 deposits.
Solar scammers are by no means confined to Queensland. Earlier this year, Australian consumer group Choice issued a warning to people considering buying a solar power system to be wary of fly-by-night operators.
While the majority of operators in the solar power industry are delivering; like any sector there will always be a cowboy element, those more interested in a fast buck than providing quality. While a lengthy warranty may help convince some consumers of a company’s credibility, an installation warranty is only good if a company is still around to honour it.
National solar provider Energy Matters offers a free consumer’s guide to buying solar power to help solar purchasers recognise and avoid the pitfalls of acquiring a solar power system. The guide was published to promote consumer awareness and in doing so, make for a more level playing field for the many ethical solar companies operating in Australia.