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Consumer protection

We require authorised retailers and installers to adhere to high standards. You should know your consumer rights, what to be aware of and what you can do to protect yourself.

What we require of your retailer and installer

Stringent quality and safety standards must be met under the Solar Homes Program so that you receive a high-quality and safe system that will deliver many years of service.

To help achieve this, only authorised solar retailers, authorised hot water retailers, CEC accredited installersExternal Link and these products are eligible under our program.

Your retailer

We require authorised retailers to provide you with clear and unambiguous information, a high standard of after-sales service, and ensure that the solar system is fit for your household’s needs.

This means that your retailer must, for example:

  • obtain pre-approval from the Distributed Network Service Provider (DNSP), advise you of any energy export limits, and engage a CEC-accredited solar system designer, or equivalent, to complete a site-specific performance assessment
  • provide you with a written statement that the system installed is complete, functional and installed as per design requirements and the customer quotation
  • provide you with a minimum five year whole-of-system warranty for all eligible systems under our programs (including quality of work)
  • provide you with documentation confirming the terms and conditions of the warranty, and who to contact in the event of a product failure
  • for solar panel (PV) and battery retailers, be a signatory to the New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC)
  • have an internal complaint-handling procedure in place to support you, as required under the NETCC.

If you are interested in applying for credit through your retailer, your retailer must:

  • offer you credit through a credit provider licensed under the National Consumer Credit Protection Act 2009External Link (National Credit Act) or an unlicensed provider that has been approved by the Clean Energy Council as meeting minimum consumer protections
  • ensure any deferred payment plans (including Buy Now Pay Later arrangements) offered to you to part finance the cost of a solar panel (PV) or solar battery installation meet this NETCC requirement.

For more detail about what we require of retailers, you can read:

More about the NETCC

The New Energy Tech Consumer Code (NETCC) TCC iis a set of service standards designed to protect consumers purchasing new energy technologies. It is administered by the Clean Energy Council (CEC) and provides stronger protections than under Australian consumer law,  and requiringes  retailers to commit to high standards across:

  • sales and marketing 
  • quotes and contracts 
  • delivery and installation 
  • warranties and support.

Hot water products are not yet covered under the NETCC, so your hot water retailer does not need to be a signatory to the NETCC to participate in our hot water rebate stream if they do not sell solar panel (PV) or battery products.

Learn more here

Your installer

Some things your solar PV and battery system installer must do include:

Some things your solar hot water and heat pump installer must do include:

  • holding the appropriate plumbing accreditation issued by the Victorian Building AuthorityExternal Link .
  • issuing a compliance certificate where your hot water system has been installed to a total value of $750 or more. This also applies to all gas installations affecting gas pipes. Only a licensed plumber can issue a compliance certificate.
  • providing you with a Certificate of ElectricalExternal Link Safety where electrical work has occurred.

Customer QR codes are important

Your installer MUST scan your customer QR code on-site on the day of your installation BEFORE starting any work. The QR code step helps to:

  • provide an extra level of safety for everyone
  • link your installation to an authorised installer
  • signal to regulators that your installer is about to start and can be inspected to ensure the highest safety standards are met.

Please help by ensuring your installer does this on the day of your installation BEFORE starting any work.

For more detail about what we require of installers, you can read:

Our focus on safety and quality

We work with government agencies, regulators and peak bodies to continuously improve safety and quality within the solar industry in Victoria. They include:

As regulators, WorkSafe Victoria, ESV and the VBA can inspect installations during and after installations to ensure they meet safety requirements. We also work with independent auditors to inspect five per cent of systems installed under our programs.

The purpose of these checks is to ensure the safety of customers and workers, and develop an understanding of where retailers and installers in our programs are doing well, and where there is room for improvement.

We encourage you to agree to having your installation inspected if it is selected for a free safety and quality check with a Solar Victoria appointed auditor.

Read more about:

Advertising and sales tactics to be aware of

Under the terms and conditions, authorised retailers must comply with all laws when publicising our programs. This includes laws prohibiting false and misleading representations and not engaging in unsolicited door-to-door sales to market our rebates.

Inappropriate high-pressure sales tactics can include:

  • ‘cold' calling and door knocking
  • advertising free systems and appliance installations
  • pressure selling
  • providing false costing information
  • providing misleading information regarding eligibility for government rebates
  • completing applications on behalf of customers
  • claiming endorsement or affiliation with government and public figures.

Door-to-door sales to market our rebates was prohibited in our Retailer Terms and Conditions on 1 September 2021 (see Door-to-door sales banned from today).

You have 10 full business days to reconsider agreements made in any circumstances.

This cooling-off period gives you time to ensure you are happy with the decision and that you have all the information needed to make a good choice. It begins on the first business day after the agreement is made. If you cancel the agreement, there’s no penalty.

We monitor for an investigate inappropriate or high-pressure marketing and sales tactics and will refer conduct that may breach Australian Consumer Law to Consumer Affairs VictoriaExternal Link .

For information about the substantial penalties for breaching Australian Consumer Law, see the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission websiteExternal Link .

Tips to protect consumers

Tips to help protect you from inaccurate marketing and high-pressure tactics include:

  • Talk with neighbours, friends and family who have recently had solar systems installed, find out who they have dealt with or speak with well-known retailers.
  • Ask questions, be vigilant and read the guides produced by Consumer Affairs VictoriaExternal Link and the Clean Energy CouncilExternal Link , as well as our Buyers Guides.
  • Find online reviews of the retailers you are looking at but be aware of over-enthusiastic reviews or multiple reviews submitted on the same day.
  • See if retailer details like their ABN are listed on their website – you can check these on ASIC’s websiteExternal Link .
  • Be wary of traders offering goods or services with significantly discounted prices as this is generally a trade-off for low-quality equipment that may not last.
  • Register your phone number with the Do Not Call registerExternal Link and consider lodging a complaintExternal Link if you receive a telemarketing call.
  • Try to verify details of retailers calling or visiting from an independent source, such as a phone directory – and be aware of fake websites as scammers send links to websites that look real, carrying the logos of well-known organisations.
  • Do not rely on Caller ID. Scammers can use internet services to buy local telephone numbers that hide their location and identity.
  • Read more about rebate scams on the Consumer Affairs Victoria websiteExternal Link .
  • Report dodgy sales behaviour to ScamwatchExternal Link .
  • Remember: Victorian Government agencies will never ask for personal details such as banking information over the phone.

Useful organisations

WorkSafe Victoria

WorkSafe Victoria is Victoria’s workplace health and safety regulator.

Contact WorkSafe to report a workplace health and safety incident, to report employer-non-compliance or to speak to their health and safety and injury compensation advisory service.

Website: Link

Energy Safe Victoria

Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is Victoria’s technical and safety regulator for the generation, supply, and use of electricity, gas, and pipelines.

Contact ESV about safety and quality concerns for electrical and gas installations and equipment, among other things.

Website: Link

Victorian Building Authority (VBA)

The Victorian Building Authority (VBA) is Victoria’s building and plumbing regulator.

Contact the VBA for information about building and plumbing matters, including safety matters.

Website: External Link

Clean Energy Council

The Clean Energy Council (CEC) is a peak body for the clean energy sector in Australia.

Contact the CEC about potential breaches of the New Energy Tech Consumer Code by authorised retailers, as well as instances of non-compliance by CEC Accredited Installers.

Website: External Link

Consumer Affairs Victoria

Consumer Affairs Victoria is Victoria’s consumer affairs regulator.

Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria about compliance with and enforcement of consumer laws and regulations, as well as complaints relating to potential breaches of these laws and regulations.

Website: Link

Australian Securities and Investments Commission

The Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) is Australia’s corporate, markets, and financial services regulator.

Contact ASIC for information and enquiries about companies, businesses and individuals, and to report alleged misconduct of companies and organisations registered with ASIC.

Website: Link

Scamwatch Australian and Competition and Consumer Commission

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is Australia’s competition regulator and national consumer law champion, and provides information on how to recognise, avoid, and report scams.

Contact the ACCC for guidance on consumer rights and product safety and to report scams and other consumer issues.

Website: Link and Link

Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria

The Energy and Water Ombudsman Victoria is Victoria’s dispute resolution service for energy and water issues.

Contact the Ombudsman to lodge complaints about energy and water related matters within its jurisdiction.

Website: Link

Essential Services Commission

The Essential Services Commission is Victoria’s regulator for the price, quality and reliability of essential services.

Contact the Commission for information about electricity, gas and water issues as well as energy saving information.

Website: Link

Consumer Action Law Centre

The Consumer Action Law Centre (CALC) is a consumer advocacy organisation.

Contact CALC for legal and financial assistance if you are struggling with a range of consumer and financial issues.

Website: Link

Clean Energy Regulator

The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) is an Australian independent statutory authority responsible for administering legislation to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of clean energy.

Contact the CER for information about the schemes it administers, including the Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, Emissions Reduction Fund and Renewable Energy Target.

Website: Link

Reviewed 18 July 2023

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