Another day, another scam. Solar and heat pump buyers across Australia are being warned of a new scam that is seeing many Aussies left with low-quality products and poor installations. While scams in the solar industry are as new as sliced bread, this new con is now leaving reputable installers in the lurch, too.
Scammers impersonating legitimate solar and heat pump installers
What’s rather unique about the most recent scam is that the victims are home and business owners expecting legitimate installations.
The scam goes like this:
- A home or business owner makes enquiries across various solar and/or heat pump installers.
- The home or business owner settles on an installer and sets a date for installation.
- They receive a call from someone who claims to be the installer and organises the installation date to be moved closer.
- The installation team arrives and installs the system and takes payment immediately.
- The home or business owner finds that what was installed was not what was agreed to and further finds that the installers were not who they claimed to be.
For this scam to work, the home or business owner would have contacted the scam installer when doing their due diligence and getting multiple quotes.
The scam installer then calls every person who has inquired with them in the hopes that they are poised to install with someone else. They organise a time, usually within a day or two, to install the system. Upon arrival, they will insist that they are XYZ installer whom the customer had been dealing with. They will then install a lower-quality system for the same quoted price as the legitimate installer.
The impact on everyday Aussies
This scam is insidious. Not only does it leave many home and business owners with little recourse but it deprives legitimate solar and heat pump installers of business. With solar and heat pump installations booming across the country, scammers are taking advantage of the increased installation timeframes.
Heat pump installations have been the greatest hit due to generous rebates and incentives, particularly in Victoria. This usually means that a home or business owner will be left with a poor installation and a low-capacity hot water system. These poor-quality systems will often come with similarly poor warranties.
How to spot a solar and heat pump scam
The unfortunate reality is that there will always be people out there ready to scam you out of your hard-earned money. Here are some simple things you can do to avoid these cons:
- Request all quotes to be sent to you via email.
- If you are called to reorganise an installation date and time, do not offer any information. Instead, ask the caller to identify themselves and provide you with these details:
- The quoted price
- The quoted system (make, model, size, etc)
- Confirm your address
- The address of the installation company
- If you are not satisfied with their responses, hang up and call your installer to confirm.
- On the day of installation, ask for identification.
- Read over any contract or documentation provided to you on the day of installation.
If at any point you are not satisfied, call the office of the installer. Do not use any contact details provided to you, instead locate the contact number via the Internet or previous correspondence.
What can I do if I have been scammed?
In the unfortunate event that you have been scammed, we suggest the following:
Energy Matters helping you choose legitimate installers
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