How to Use this Resource
We hope these articles help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or scroll by heading. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword when you visit the front of https://sapac.co.za for a self help video watch this VIDEO
SAPAC is a collective of registered professionals and contractors with a variety of skills and valid registrations in the construction sphere. If you have a particular question or believe that you want an expert opinion get in contact with SAPAC and our team will assist you with the correct information.
You may Request SAPAC for FREE assistance with your Selection of installer to find out if they comply https://bit.ly/SAPACHelp
SOLAR PANEL AND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY RESOURCES SCAM
AVOID SOLAR PANEL SCAMS
The addition of solar panels to your home may sound like a great idea. From lower energy bills to a reduced carbon footprint, it’s the “green” thing to do. However, you must assess whether it is the right decision for your home and your budget.
Consumers considering solar energy must take time to research the pros and cons of solar power, and then request SAPAC to investigate the companies that sell, install and finance the panels. Do not feel pressured in to signing a contract for solar panels. Informed decisions make the best decisions.
Is the Solar Salesperson being truthful?
Many times, the sales process begins with an unsolicited call at your door. Or a social media post. You’re greeted by a salesperson that is personable and knowledgeable about the benefits of solar power. They’re professional and trained to earn your trust. Most homeowners are persuaded with promises of free panels, reduced costs for energy, and low maintenance. In most cases large commissions is the order of the day and unknowingly the consumer ends up paying for these as well. And most often, these solar power companies are not registered correctly or may not even perform such an installation. The law dictates the consumer must ensure that the person they are using is valid. Therefore use the SAPAC Collectives platform.
Unethical or High-Pressure Sales Tactics
Unfortunately, forceful, aggressive, or dishonest sales tactics are all too common in most contracting fields, including solar panel and alternative power installations. Fraudulent companies on Social Media will try to force sales at any cost, even if the specifics of the installation are detrimental to the homeowner. There are plenty of underhanded ways representatives can try to close a sale, and some are more obvious than others.
Keep an eye out for some of the following signs you’re dealing with an underhanded salesperson. They might:
- Using marketers on social media with false promises and profound positive phone calls making promises even tough they themselves don't know the ins and out of AC/DC power.
- Try to force a deal without a contract.
- Attempt to close a deal without giving you time to consider your options.
- Create a quote and contract without ever inspecting your property. Using Google Earth to providing you with a quote.
- Make lofty promises, inducing impossibly low prices, free solar panels, or no upfront costs.
- Claim to work with or are a representative of a utility company.
- Lack or be unwilling to provide proper company identification.
- Unable to showcase the company forms part of SAPAC.
- Offer free add-ons like solar batteries or warranty programs.
- Warn you about a future increase in utility costs.
- Exaggerate the value of your system, pricing it far above the current market value.
- State that a certain brand or technology is the only one available or allowed in your area.
If you are unsure contact SAPAC immediately
Thoroughly Vet Companies Beforehand
One important practice for all home improvement projects, including solar installations, is to vet the companies beforehand. Start by going online to https://sapac.co.za if you are unsure contact SAPAC. While checking for negative reviews and comments on each Professional or Contractors profile on SAPAC, be on the lookout for complaints and possible noted violations. You’ll also want to check the company’s profile that is available on the SAPAC Platform.
If you suspect a company is fraudulent, you can always check up on it contacting SAPAC first.. The SAPAC help centre can advise you on the local solar market and check to see if a company has any serious complaints against it or has a record of violations.
How did I end up in a contract for solar panels?
Maybe you aren’t completely certain about solar panels, inverters and or batteries, and simply want more information about switching to solar power. Beware. At this point of the presentation, the salesperson may casually suggest that you submit an application, just to see whether or not you do qualify for solar panels. You’ll be offered an iPad or tablet to sign, and be told not to worry because you’ll receive copies of all documents by email.
Dangers of Electronic-Signing
Placing your signature or initials on an electronic device like an iPad, tablet, or phone may seem easy and may impress certain consumers. However, your electronic signature or initials may be copied and affixed to a contract or other forms that you did not intend.
A signature on a contractual document or other written agreement, demonstrates that a party has read, understood and consents to the terms and conditions of the contract.
Before signing anything, insist on a paper copy of every document in advance. Take time to read each document. If the terms do not make sense, consult an attorney. Alternatively contact SAPAC to assist you. To ascertain if the company has the required credentials.
Written Permission to Access Credit Reports
Solar companies rely on financing to make solar panels available to consumers. Credit reports are accessed to evaluate a potential customer’s creditworthiness. The consumer must provide written permission for the solar company to obtain these reports.
If you do not want your credit accessed, do not provide your E-signature on an electronic device. That signature could be copied to a credit request form. Credit files accessed without permission could be a violation to the consumer’s rights under the National Credit Act 34 of 2005. This law offers protections to consumers for the privacy and accuracy of their credit information.
Common Misrepresentations to the Consumer
Solar panels will be free.
Many salespeople tell consumers that solar panels are free. In most cases, they are not free; in fact, they can cost you R120,000 to R130,000, or more. And, you can be in a 20+ year contract to pay for the panels.
Neighbours are doing it
A popular tactic used by solar salespeople to gain credibility is to mention that your neighbour signed the same contract as the one offered to you. Don’t feel pressured. Speak with your neighbour first and find out if the company is known to SAPAC - South African Professionals and Contractors Collective. Verify the company name on the platform and if they are not listed request SAPAC verification.
Four Important Steps to protect yourself from Scams:
- Research whether adding solar panels is right for you. You may wish to visit SAPAC and verify the company.
- Evaluate the reputation of solar providers — Solar panels companies, installers and finance companies. May be evaluated with SAPAC.
- Consult consumers who have entered solar panel contracts. Remember, that the law dictates that the owner is responsible to ensure that the contractor they use are 100% correct. If you have not done your homework. There is nothing that can be done.
- Review the solar panel contract. Understand the terms and financial obligation. Get answers to your questions. Once you sign, you may be on the hook for 20 years or more.
What to positively avoid:
- Marketers that market Solar and that is asking for recommendations that want you to mention them. (Commission based referrals)
- Any Solar company that says they are green card holders that state they may install. Note: The green card holder just received training. Solar installers must be fully qualified electricians.
- Asking on social media i.e. https://www.facebook.com/ more often than not marketers get referral commission and you end up paying for this.
- Purchasing inverters, batteries and solar panels and then thinking an electrician is going to install this for you. There is companies that is importing into South Africa, unregulated solar components that is not SABS approved. A lot of persons is loosing in a big way.
If you found this information helpful, read our Article on: How You may loose with a Solar Installation
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