Solar retailers and suppliers must substantiate performance claims and ensure statements about related financial assistance programs are accurate.
In a joint warning to the industry, Australian consumer protection agencies are calling on solar power retailers to comply with the Australian Consumer Law and ensure their claims are true.
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission chairman Graeme Samuel said when advertising solar power systems retailers must be vigilant and take all reasonable steps to ensure consumers are not misled.
“It’s easy for consumers to be dazzled by energy and money saving claims or new technology and equations presented by so-called experts. Retailers are on notice that they must be able to support and back-up these types of performance and savings claims.
“Claims should be clear and unambiguous and should not include technical or scientific jargon that suggests certain capabilities or effects that cannot be substantiated,” Mr Samuel said.
In response to consumer demand for ‘clean and green’ energy, governments across Australia offer financial assistance to help consumers offset the set-up costs of installing solar power systems in their homes.
“Recent advertising by solar retailers about these financial assistance schemes coming to an end can give consumers the false impression they will miss out on savings if they don’t act now,” Mr Samuel said.
“The initial investment in a solar power system can be very expensive, so it is important that retailers don’t pressure householders into rash decisions.”
“The timing of changes to the available financial assistance can vary so consumers should check the Office of the Renewable Energy Regulator website (www.orer.gov.au) for more information.”
Acting together in a national project, Australian consumer protection agencies will take swift action against solar power retailers who breach the law. Businesses making misleading, deceptive or false claims about solar energy products risk civil and in some cases criminal sanctions.
Guidance for businesses about their obligations regarding environmental claims under the Australian Consumer Law is available at www.accc.gov.au.