When choosing a solar retailer, you can avoid a litany of problems by selecting a reputable company from day one. Like any industry, there are some red flags to look out for when deciding on your solar retailer. Here’s how to avoid making a costly mistake!
8 Red Flags to Look Out for When Choosing a Solar Company:
Deals that are too good to be true
If you see a flashy sign with ‘solar panels for sale’ and the price is too good to be true, then it probably is. Naturally, we understand that a solar panel installation is a big investment. So, it makes sense to look for the best deal and lower your upfront costs a bit. However, these ultra-cheap deals often cost you a lot more in the long run. Whether it’s cheap, unreliable equipment that needs constant repairs or whether your solar retailer inevitably goes broke and leaves you with limited warranty options, the consequences can be severe. You may even simply find that your solar retailer provides terrible after-sales service, which also leads to frustration.
What you really need to look for is value for money. By paying a little more to get reliable equipment from highly-rated manufacturers, you can save yourself some pain. You’ll also have a better product that ultimately delivers the benefits of solar for a lot longer. Plus, buying from a reputable retailer with great service makes life a whole lot easier if you do have any equipment issues.
Low-quality solar products
Many of the less-reputable solar installers don’t really care about the quality of solar panels they sell. It’s all about making a sale, and they don’t give a lot of thought to what happens when the customer complaints come rolling in. Cheap solar panels and inverters are more prone to performance issues, and therefore cause you headaches as a customer.
When choosing a solar retailer, do some research on the brands they exclusively sell. This is important not just for quality control, but because certain types of low-quality panels won’t be eligible for some of the government solar rebates on offer. Preferably, you want brands that have an office in Australia, because it helps if you have any problems with the warranty in future.
Poor online reviews
In the digital age, it’s not hard to research a company and check its credentials. Bear in mind that people are more likely to share bad experiences rather than good ones. So, it’s unlikely that any retailers will have perfect 5-star ratings from every single customer. But look at their online ratings as a whole. You’ll soon get an idea of whether customers are happy with the retailer’s solar installations and customer service.
You can also check their social media pages. Read some of the comments and keep an eye out for disgruntled customers. If there’s a lot of negativity on their pages, that’s a big red flag.
No presence on solar industry websites
The solar industry has a lot of websites dedicated to it. Some specifically offer retailer ratings. There are comparison sites too, but bear in mind, comparison sites only show a select number of affiliated retailers. But overall, there are plenty of online resources dedicated to solar. A quick Google search of the company you’re researching will show whether they appear on any of these sites.
If they don’t, it could be that they’re a very new company. But it could also mean they’re not considered very highly in their own industry, which is always a red flag.
Lack of longevity in the industry
Regarding the issue of whether to choose a new solar company or an established one, it’s a tricky call. While every business needs a chance to prove itself, do you really want to take that risk when a solar installation is such a costly investment? The reality is, many solar retailers burst onto the scene with amazing cheap deals, but a couple of years later they’re out of business. Some of the really unscrupulous operators create what’s known as ‘phoenix’ companies. So, they run one business into receivership and start another under someone else’s name. Same bad service, but none of the financial liability of the old business. It’s a terrible situation, but one that does occur.
It is always recommended that you check the companies ABN on the ASIC register.
By choosing an established company with several years of operation, you’re less likely to be stranded down the track with nobody to help with your solar concerns.
The retailer isn’t CEC approved
This is possibly the biggest red flag of all. Solar retailers who are serious about conducting business the right way always seek to become approved by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) of Australia. This accreditation isn’t just about the products they sell, but also about how they market products. So, if a retailer is promising the world and delivering only a fraction of that, they won’t get CEC accreditation.
Always look for CEC approved retailers, because their business practices, products and solar installations are usually much better than those who aren’t approved.
Unprofessional quote documents
When you receive a quote from any company, you expect it look professional. Most solar retailers do a bit of work before quoting, such as analyzing your existing electricity usage. So, you’d expect their quotes to be professional and detailed. If you come across a retailer who gives shabby looking quotes, or even worse, won’t put a quote in writing, it’s time to look elsewhere. Just because a company has taken the time to give you a consultation, there’s no obligation to purchase from them if you find their service to be sub-standard.
Difficult to contact
Last of all, being able to contact your solar retailer should be easy. When you call their number, do you get through to them easily? If you email them or contact them through social media, do they respond promptly? These are things you should consider very carefully, because if they can’t provide you with a good level of customer service while they have an opportunity to make a sale, can you imagine how bad their service will be if you call them with issues after installation?
Make the smart choice for solar
If you want great customer service from a reputable, CEC approved installer who wants the best for you and your family, contact Captain Green today. We pride ourselves on our professionalism, and it’s why we’ve developed a reputation as a leading solar retailer since 2010. Call today on 1300 361 682 and talk to our friendly team today!