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Have you been subject to pressure sales for solar?

Posted by Cathy Debenham on 7 December 2012 at 2:30 pm

A small minority of renewable energy companies are ignoring the rules on selling set down in the REAL Assurance consumer code, to which all MCS accredited installers must adhere. 

This is the relevant section of the code:

Sales employees and representatives, whether employed  directly, sub-contracted or selling on the company's behalf, must not use any  selling techniques designed to pressurise the consumer into making an immediate  decision. These techniques are prohibited by law as well as contravening this  Code. They include, but are not limited to:

  • staying in the consumer's premises for more than two hours (except  in exceptional circumstances which must be recorded);
  • offering consumers an inflated initial price followed by a  discount, or equivalent (for example, additional equipment or monitoring devices for free), for  
    -  signing  on the day
    -  agreeing  to provide testimonials
    -  providing  customer referrals

    displaying a board outside their home
    -  providing  performance monitoring data;
    -  withholding price information until the end of the visit;  or

    claiming that there is limited availability of the energy  generator.

Members are only permitted to offer any discounts of more  than £200 where:

  • the undiscounted price quoted is a genuine price at which a  significant number of retail sales of  energy generators can be shown to have been made; and
  • the discounts have been specifically advertised a  reasonable time beforehand on the website or in press or other media  advertising; and
  • the discounted price cannot be confused with the  undiscounted price by virtue of the length of time it is available for; and
  • the discounts apply to every-one irrespective of  postcode, region, date, house type or any other limiting factor clearly  intended to pressurise a consumer into signing a contract.

Members must not follow up sales visits by further visits or  telephone calls offering further discounted prices or other information intended  to pressurise consumers into signing a contract.

If you have experienced behaviour that breaks this code your first step is to report the company to REAL.

We are keen to see the back of this kind of behaviour, and are currently calling for ministers to ban companies from signing up customers on the day of a sales visit. Please support this campaign in one of the following ways:

1. Sign the petition - just click here.

2. Write to your MP and ask for their support

3. Tell your story. If you've been on the receiving end of dodgy sales tactics let us know. You can either post your story in the comment section below this blog, or email us.

Read more about it here.

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If you have a question about anything in the above blog, please ask it in the comments section below.

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Comments

2 comments - read them below or add one

Sims Solar Ltd

Sims Solar LtdComment left on: 10 December 2012 at 11:55 pm

I don't think it is specifically against the rules but I suggest against the spirit of the rules. From your other comments on other pages you nonetheless seam happy with your purchase.

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Mikey_m

Mikey_mComment left on: 10 December 2012 at 6:54 pm

My supplier of a solar PV system did not offer me a discount for signing the contract on the day, but he said that if he had to come back another day, the price would go up by £250. Is that against the rules? I signed up but I was not too worried because I liked the deal I got, plus there is a 7 day cooling off period, plus I had done quite a lot of research on the topic. I might not have taken the voltage optimiser, though, if I had had more time to consider it.

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