Australians seeking to get solar products have a right to expect good service. The majority of solar businesses in Australia will provide that. Even in the rare circumstances where an issue arises, a good solar businesses will look to address the issue swiftly and effectively. Overall, Australians can certainly have confidence in the quality found among the solar industry in the nation, given the many outstanding professionals and businesses that are among its ranks.
Nonetheless, it’s unfortunately the case that like every field, a few bad apples can exist in the industry. As opposed to quality solar installers who know they offer good products and services - and thus will always play a straight bat with their customers - questionable solar businesses know their offerings really don’t stack up, and that’s why they commonly engage in a number of tactics which would-be solar system owners (and existing solar owners) should be aware of. So, let’s look now at 7 questionable solar seller practices to watch out for.
1. Unusual Outreach
A good solar business will be kept very busy attending to their clients, as well as dealing with inbound (where the prospective customer contacts the seller) enquiries. By no means does this suggest a solar business like this won’t also be doing outreach to new customers - it can certainly be said that it’s indeed very important that they do! - but given they’ve got a strong and growing customer base, you can be assured they’re unlikely to be doing weird telemarketer calls early in the morning or sending odd emails late at night. That’s why if someone finds a solar seller haranguing them at all hours of the day on the phone or relentlessly spamming their email inbox with messages, it’s commonly a sign that there’s reason to be wary of the business.
2. Intense Pressure Tactics
In addition to unusual approaches, any intense pressure tactics by a solar seller can also be a big warning sign. As discussed further below, a reasonable person can recognise there is a caveat here. After all, every business wants to market their goods, and many will often follow up with prospective customers now and then. But if a customer is getting pressured to commit to a deal right away, is being hounded by constant communication - and is thus not getting time to breathe and think about any offer on the table - it’s a reason to be weary.
3. Lack of Online Presence
Yes, a good solar business could be very new and still sorting out their website - most people would surely say it’d be ideal to have the website set up before the business starts, but still - yet in lieu of this, a genuine business of real quality could likely provide other info such as testimonials from recent customers, or other info which can help illustrate they are the real deal. For instance, some extensive history about the founder(s) of the business, which should show they’ve the suitable (and verifiable) expertise to deliver a terrific solar experience. If there’s zero online presence, and no information available about the business via other avenues, it’s prudent to beware.
4. Refusal to Provide Much Information About Products
Similar to the website dynamic, even if a solar business doesn’t have a ton of info about their products immediately available, they should be able to provide it another way. It’s entirely possible a particular staff member may not have an answer about a specific query regarding a product now and then - no one can know everything after all! - but it shouldn’t be impossible for them to find that info out elsewhere, and then circle back later. A solar business which refuses to detail much about their products and/or seems to evade enquiries about them from the customer should be treated with great caution.
5. Failure to Provide Any Info About Timeline
Obviously we’re right now in the Covid-19 pandemic, and that has created uncertainty in the supply chain, and the availability to staff. Nonetheless, you should be able to obtain estimates surrounding when a solar system shall be installed. If there is a refusal to provide any info about this at all - and a business effectively just says ‘we’ll let you know when we’re ready’ - that could be a big reason to be weary.
6. No Quality Communication
Having quality communication doesn’t mean a business will require a lot of time or make it really complex to get a deal done. Good solar businesses will essentially always be able to provide an easy and straightforward path to go from initial discussion to installation of a rooftop solar system. But it’s all about precision and a shared sense of mission.
A good solar business will look to ensure their customers are respected, assisted, and satisfied as they go through the process of getting a solar system installed. If a solar business is unwilling (or unable) to assist a customer in a way that ensures the customer feels their communication needs are being attended to, then this could be a big reason to steer clear.
7. No Help if Something Goes Wrong
In very rare instances even a good solar business can have an issue arise surrounding a rooftop solar system. Setbacks and mishaps can happen in essentially any business, so in and of itself this isn’t a huge cause for concern - it’s the reason why warranties exist after all. But undoubtedly there can be a massive difference between a solar business that will look to respond quickly and appropriately to an issue that’s arisen, and a business that won’t.
If someone feels they’ve dealt with a very questionable installer, unfortunately in such circumstances often the best way to address the issue is to just move on and contact a good one. The latter can’t change the past, but they can help ensure a better course of action is pursued than one that would be on offer by going back to the questionable installer, and having the same headaches arise again. After all, to paraphrase Einstein, ‘It’d be crazy to do the same thing twice and expect different results’.
Context is Critical
It’s essential to note in certain instances these aforementioned practices need to be considered in context. This is because there is of course the subjective element to some factors here, and so too is it a fact people are human, and can make mistakes. Keeping these caveats in mind are important when it comes to the context of each of these practices. Undoubtedly if a solar business appears to engage in all these aforementioned behaviours with a prospective customer, then they could be very questionable indeed. But every business encounters challenges now and then. Thus, if a business otherwise seems to be a quality one but a slight issue has arisen, it’s worthwhile considering it in context, and assessing whether there’s a reasonable reason for it. If in doubt, allowing a little time before proceeding on can be wise, as a questionable solar business will ultimately likely give off other warning signs with time, whereas a quality solar business will inevitably prove itself by taking steps to resolve an issue with all the necessary professionalism and care required, and look to ensure anyone who deals with them has a positive experience overall, including a would-be customer making their very first enquiry.
The Path to Finding to a Proven Solar Business
No business operation will ever be 100% perfect, but when it comes to solar businesses there can be a big difference between the majority that are good, and those few bad apples which people really should steer clear of. This article has shown a number of potential warning signs that are important to keep an eye out for when looking for a solar business to deal with. As detailed above, it’s important to keep context in mind while pursuing this search - as even a good solar business may at times make a mistake - but if a business appears to be ‘ticking all the boxes’ here when it comes to bad behaviour? Then undoubtedly it’s indeed most likely a business to avoid.
In addition to always looking to do business exclusively with a trusted solar business, would-be (and existing) solar system owners will find they can gain terrific benefits from learning more about the ins and outs of solar systems today, major trends in the wider industry, and also what solar power is set to offer in the future as the technology advances even further. Building this knowledge can not only help gain a greater understanding of just what makes solar so special, but it can also help inform the search for a good solar business, when it next comes time to officially deal with one down the line.
IIn addition to the resources outlines above, further reading regarding the Key Questions to Ask When Searching for a Quality Solar Installer can be found here.
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