Be wary of firms offering solar panel upgrades or maintenance, that is the warning from Essex County Council’s Trading Standards Team following reports that teams of rogue salesmen are operating in Essex.
Officers are turning up the heat on these firms and shining a spotlight on their shoddy practices to prevent more eco-conscious homeowners from being ripped-off.
Typically unscrupulous solar panel companies are using the ruse of offering maintenance and upgrades as a way to get access to homes so they can aggressively pitch unnecessary products and upgrades.
Often they will tell unwary solar panel owners that they are coming to do a ‘health check’ on their system and that they are working with the Micro Generation Certification Scheme (MCS). Neither of these are true and they are more likely to use the visit to try and sell battery storage systems or inverters which are, more often than not, over-priced and will not provide any significant benefits.
MCS has confirmed that they are not partnered with any installation or maintenance companies and that they do not share their customers’ personal information.
Cllr Anne Brown, Essex County Council Cabinet Member for Corporate, Communities and Customers, said: “It is important to exercise caution when someone calls you offering to do work, even if they present themselves as experts in the field.
“Never invite cold callers into your home. If you think that your solar panel system needs maintenance, repair or upgrade our advice is to use the help and guidance offered by MCS to find a reputable company.”
If you have been approached in this way or bought further products as a result of this type of call, and you have concerns, please report it and seek advice from The Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506.
Details of all consumer enquiries, dealt with by Citizens Advice, are made available to Trading Standards and we will consider action against businesses making these misleading claims.
Solar Panel owners can get more information about installers and solar panels in general from the MCS website at microgenerationcertification.org/ or by calling the MCS helpdesk on 020 7090 1082.