People who bought solar panel loans were promised that the savings on their energy bills would offset the price of the loan repayments, making the panels “better than free.” In reality, these people pay up to £1,000 a year out of pocket, on top of their energy costs (which did not decrease significantly).
The Financial Ombudsman Service knows about these cases, and have even done their own investigations. In many of these situations, people were apparently pressured into buying the panels through persuasive sales techniques or pressure tactics. Some salespersons even went so far as provide misleading interpretations of literature about solar panels.
The go-to argument for getting a solar panel is that using them means you basically get a cashback for putting electricity back in the system. People who cite this overlook the fact that the feed-in tariff, which is where these refunds come from, was discontinued in 2016. This is one less argument for getting solar panels on credit.
Furthermore, solar panels have become more inexpensive in recent years. In 2011, if you wanted to buy a system for your home, you had to be prepared to spend £14,000 or more. This sum is down to £4,000 to £5,000 in 2018, which is a massive decrease, but still a large sum of money.
These underhanded sales tactics have damaged what could have been a good way to push for sustainable use of energy. Fortunately, people who have been mis-sold solar panels have some options if they choose to end their contract.
People who are settling claims regarding mis-sold products should use a claims management service. This is especially true if you don’t know the first step in making a claim. Your management service can help you with all steps of the process.
A successful claim will give you an option to either end the contract or continue with it but also receive damages for the wrongful sale. It is not recommended that you continue with a smaller monthly repayment. When you add up all the costs, this might end up with you not exceeding energy bill savings anyway.
In case the company doesn’t return your calls or messages, you can contact the Renewable Energy Consumer Code or RECC. They can act as an arbiter for complainants and companies registered with them, so your solar panel provider must be signed up before you can push through. You will also need to pay £100 plus taxes to RECC to cover the fees of the dispute-settling process. This is refundable if you win your claims.
Remember that if you avail of the RECC’s service, you will not be able to go to court. The decision they make is binding, and you have to follow it whether it is favourable to you or not. In addition to that, consider the Home Insulation and Energy Systems scheme or HIES. This institution provides free dispute resolution. The Energy Performance Validation scheme or EPVS is also another resource; they let you check the accuracy of quotes from panel providers.
For people who pay for their panels through a card, you can consult the Consumer Credit Act. In Section 75, it says that a credit company may be liable in case of a wrongful purchase on credit. This rules some people out, however, such as individuals who purchased through debit or those whose panels cost more than £30,000.
Renewable energy loans are touted as a way to help homes go green without having to pay full price at once. Increasing your home’s value, paying on installment, and saving on your energy costs all at once is fantastic. Unfortunately, many customers did not feel the purported benefits of solar panels sold on credit.
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If you want to make a claim on any other mis-sold product in Cheshire, get in touch with us at Consumer Reclaim today – we’re ready to help you get the compensation you deserve!