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New code to protect Aussies buying solar panels

New code to protect Aussies buying solar panels
Posted 23 August 2019

Ever thought about investing in solar panels for your home? 

If so, you'll know it's a big decision and there's a lot to wrap your head around. Fortunately, the consumer watchdog is proposing a new retailer code to make solar purchases safer and easier.

Australia is the  sunniest continent on Earth. Yep, even more so than Africa.

Which is why it makes sense that  more than two million homes have already decked out their rooftops with solar panels.

Sure, the initial outlay is between  $5,000 and $10,000, but solar installations usually pay themselves off in two to six years - and then they save you a whole lot of money on power bills in the long run.

The thing is, though, household solar can be tricky to research if you're not familiar with the industry - not to mention all the potential  government rebates and incentives you need to wrap your head around.

Fortunately, the ACCC is stepping in


The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has proposed a new consumer code for retailers selling solar and energy storage systems, with a draft determination due on September 9.

The  New Energy Tech Consumer Code (the Code) sets minimum standards of good practice and consumer protection and will apply to all aspects of customers' interactions with participating retailers.

That includes their marketing, finance and payments, warranties and complaints handling processes.

"Products like solar panels or battery storage involve significant financial outlays for households," ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard  explains.

"This Code aims to give consumers more protection and more information to help them make informed purchases."

What will The Code cover?


Signatories to the Code must comply with obligations, including that they:

- avoid high-pressure sales tactics
- ensure their advertising is clear and accurate
- educate consumers about their rights
- provide clear information about product performance and maintenance
- take extra steps to protect vulnerable consumers
- implement effective complaints handling processes.

The proposed code will also effectively prevent signatories from offering finance through 'buy now pay later' arrangements.

Financing options


There are a number of state government programs across Australia that offer interest-free loans for eligible households in the solar space, including in  NSWVictoriaQueensland and  South Australia.

If you're not eligible for any of the above schemes, rest assured that there are other smart ways to finance the installation of household solar.

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Disclaimer: The content of this article is general in nature and is presented for informative purposes. It is not intended to constitute financial advice, whether general or personal nor is it intended to imply any recommendation or opinion about a financial product. It does not take into consideration your personal situation and may not be relevant to circumstances. Before taking any action, consider your own particular circumstances and seek professional advice. This content is protected by copyright laws and various other intellectual property laws. It is not to be modified, reproduced or republished without prior written consent.

 

 

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