Door-to-door so­lar sales spark warn­ing

Albany Extra - - News - Jes­sica Cuthbert

Al­bany res­i­dents have been warned to do their re­search be­fore sign­ing up for so­lar en­ergy, in light of re­cent door knock­ers.

Sales­men have been go­ing door-to-door sell­ing so­lar prod­ucts and sys­tems, even of­fer­ing $0 up­front pan­els.

Al­bany So­lar’s Howard Rath­bone en­cour­ages peo­ple to do their re­search be­fore sign­ing up with any com­pany of­fer­ing so­lar sys­tems.

“From what I’ve heard, one door-to-door knocker is sell­ing a 5kW sys­tem for $12,000 that is worth $3000, they are telling peo­ple that the sys­tem is go­ing to pro­duce 30-40 units a day which is never go­ing to hap­pen in Al­bany,” he said.

“With­out this sort of knowl­edge peo­ple are just buy­ing in to what they are be­ing told.

“The other is­sue is that this style of com­pany is, they aren’t in­stall­ers and they aren’t elec­tri­cally qual­i­fied — they are pay­ing oth­ers to in­stall.”

Mr Rath­bone said the door­knock­ers were not scam­mers but rather high-pres­sure sales­peo­ple. “They are sell­ing you a prod­uct, but the is­sue is it’s at a ridicu­lous price,” he said.

“You have to be scep­ti­cal as to who is sell­ing it; are they elec­tri­cally qual­i­fied and are they telling peo­ple the cor­rect in­for­ma­tion. It’s so im­por­tant to do your re­search.

“My ad­vice to peo­ple is, take all their in­for­ma­tion, lis­ten to what they are of­fer­ing but do not sign up and do not make a de­ci­sion with­out do­ing your re­search.”

Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion re­gional of­fi­cer Iris Thomas ad­vised con­sumers to con­sider shop­ping with the lo­cal so­lar-panel busi­nesses. “They have es­tab­lished their rep­u­ta­tion in the re­gion and if there are any af­ter­mar­ket is­sues con­sumers have the ad­van­tage of deal­ing with them face to face,” she said. “The of­fer of $0 up­front pan­els seems like too much of a good deal, hence con­sumers would need to read and un­der­stand the fine print and be cau­tious if they con­sid­ered sign­ing up.”

Pic­ture: Lau­rie Ben­son

Al­bany So­lar­man­ager Howard Rath­bone urges res­i­dents to do their re­search into so­lar en­ergy be­fore sign­ing up.

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