Q. I used a solar company (not through SolarQuotes® !) and the system they installed is not working properly. They refuse to fix it. Help!
A. Here is the best way I know of to get the system fixed.
First thing you should know is that under Australian Consumer Law, the company that sold you the system has to ensure your system is working well. You also have lots of other rights you probably don't know about some of which are explained here:
1. Engage an independent, 3rd party, accredited solar installer to perform a full audit on your system. Expect to pay about $200 for this.
2. Assuming the audit finds the system is not performing as it should, send the Audit to your installer and advise that if they do not give you a plan to fix they system within 5 business days, you will contact consumer protection. 90% of the time this will get them to fix it.
3. If the solar company still refuses to fix it or does not respond, then use the written report to lodge a complaint with your local consumer affairs:
- ACT: Office of Regulatory Services, 02 6207 3000
- NSW: Fair Trading, 13 32 20
- NT: Consumer Affairs, 1800 019 319
- Qld: Office of Fair Trading, 13 74 68
- SA: Consumer and Business Services, 131 882
- Tas: Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading, 1300 654 499
- Vic: Consumer Affairs, 1300 558 181
- WA: Consumer Protection: 1300 304 054
4. Consumer affairs will provide advice on how to resolve the issue. But sometimes they are a bit useless to be honest! If you have no joy, then book in with your local consumer tribunal, using your Audit as evidence. The installer should then be compelled to see you at the tribunal, where an impartial magistrate will decide if they have to fix your system. If it goes this far ensure you make a claim for the cost of the Audit too.
You should consider independent legal advice before taking this step.
- ACT: Small Claims Court, (02) 6217 4272
- NSW: Consumer, Trader and Tenancy Tribunal, 1300 135 399
- NT: Local Court - Small Claims Division (limit is $10,000 and claims must be lodged within 2 years of the event), (08) 8999 6298
- Qld: Small Claims Tribunal (the limit on a small claim is $7500), (07) 3225 2000
- SA: Magistrates Court - Small Claims (deals with disputes of up to $5000), (08) 8204 2444
- Tas: Magistrates Court - Minor Civil Claims Division (any dispute claiming $5000 or less), (03) 6233 3623
- Vic: Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (no limit to the amount you can claim), (03) 9628 9830
- WA: Magistrates Court, (08) 9425 2222