Solar PV Deals. Solar Heating Contracts. Solar Panels. Solar Salesmen. Solar Cowboys. Solar Rogue Trader.
Solar regrets? Have you or a relative been signed up on the spot by a solar supplier?
But now have post-purchase regrets? This is about how to get out of a solar contract.
These are lots of things you can do which may help you to get your solar panel deposit back. You only need one of them to actually work. We should know, because we have helped quite a lot of people.
1 – Get advice. Try to book yourself in for some advice from someone such as
- Trading Standards
- A consumer organisation (some may support you here)
- Citizens Advice or a solicitor. We are NOT legal advisors but I hope this free advice can help.
- The REAL code
2 – Read the small print. (You may need a magnifying glass).
is there a cool-off period? There should be. If there is, immediately
- Seek a refund IN WRITING
- Post by recorded delivery
- Using their specified means / wording, if any
- And keep a photo copy.
Then chase them for a reply every 2-3 days. Chase twice a week and at least one a week by letter.
3 – Other grounds to cancel include claims on safety and performance.
If you have invited the salespeople into your home then you may have fewer cancallation rights. This is not necessarily the end of the world. If you can demonstrate that the selling was based on false claims you may yet have grounds for a refund.
Safety – Ask if the installation is Legionella L8 compliant. If no written proof is provided, then you may have safety grounds for cancellation. See this video.
Exaggerated performance claims – Examine their website, literature and performance claims or (money saving claims) very carefully. If they are not 100% OK you may be able to cancel the order. We may be able to help you for free, since we know what is reasonable and what is not. email us at email@example.com. Questionable performance claims which may give you grounds for a refund are:
- That the system will save youloadsamoney. We can usually calculate if their claims are off the top end of the credibility scale.
- That the system will provide more than 70% of your hot water.
- That the system will provide more than 20% of your central heating in S England, 30% in N England / Ireland and 40% in Scotland. (Our “central heating season” lasts longer as you move north, so paradoxically solar central heating can be best in places like Aberdeen. (note: Solartwin do not currently offer solar central heating installations. We may have a solar slates air heating product in the future.)
- That the system is “zero carbon” or gives you “free energy” when in fact you need to plug it into the mains to get it to work.
There are other claims and contractual issues that can sometimes be worth looking at. Take unclear warranties. Do they cover the panels only or the whole systems? Was a panel warranty mis-described as a system warranty when the sales spiv was with you? Can you provide a witness to this? If the system is not fully described and specified in a contract or brochure you may occasionally have grounds to say “I want to cancel this overpriced / impulsive solar contract or order” and achieve your desired cancellation.
4 – Other things to do can be:
- Cancel the cheque, if that is what you paid by! If your bank whinges at you, threaten to move account.
- If you made a debit or credit card payment, complaining to your bank may sometimes help
- Writing to the local press – where you live AND where the company is based.
- Contact any trade bodies or associations of which they claim to be members. Get their codes of conduct and check them for noncompliance.
- If it is said to be a solar grant aided installation, contact whoever is supoposed give you the solar grant.
- Obviously googling the company’s name for cancellation topics
- Call Solarwin on 0344 567 9032 email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sometimes we can help you. We have helped to get several thousand pounds of refunds for quite a number of solar customers so far. A few eventually became customers of ours! But that is NOT an expectation if you call us, only a hope!
We hope this short article helps. We are not legal advisers but we do have some free ideas on offer.
We are also thinking about setting up a web page to assist people who have already bought solar thermal whose systems did not perform as advertised. Most solar panel users are quite satisfied according to UK government statistics. But a few have been told to expect too much. For example if someone bought a panel from a company which claimed to deliver XXXX energy a year, I would love to be able to examine the sales claims and see if this figure is or is not achievable. The interesting question would be: if the performance was, say 50% overclaimed would the customer be entitled to a proportional refund? We don’t yet know the anwer to this! Even if the answer was yes in theory – their refund might get all eaten up by legal or expert witness fees!
But there has been some serious overclaiming out there. I’ve seen crazy claims from solar suppliers which would require there to be 3.6 suns in the sky, not just one, because their techy people appear to have confused two different energy units in their performance calculations. I have seen others where a single component efficiency of over 90% was treated into an annual systemefficiency – when the real annual system efficiency of a solar water heating system is actually more like 25-50%. Odd that all the blatant errors we have spotted have been exaggeration, not understatement.