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Section 9: Consumer protections when buying a solar panel (PV) system

If you have a problem with a solar panel (PV) system installed at your home, you have rights to protect you as a consumer.

If you have a problem with a solar panel (PV) system installed at your home, you have rights to protect you as a consumer. This includes the rights you have under Australian Consumer Law, and additional entitlements under the Clean Energy Council’s Solar Retailer Code of Conduct, which CEC Approved Solar Retailers have promised to adhere to.

Only Approved Solar Retailers are able to participate in the Solar Homes Program.

Your consumer rights

Australian Consumer Law has rules for responsible marketing and selling, products being fit for purpose, and warranties being honoured. The Solar Retailer Code of Conduct has higher standards in these areas. It also has requirements for Approved Solar Retailers with regard to dealing with problems and complaints.

When you buy a system find out who you should contact if there is a fault, and be aware of the warranties available with your system.

If you have a problem with a product, service or unfulfilled contract try to resolve it directly with the company first. Putting your complaint in writing gives you records of your dealings with it.

If you are unable to contact the business, or you do not receive a satisfactory response within a reasonable time, you could lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs Victoria, who may be able to assist.

The Solar Energy page on the Consumer Affairs Victoria website has advice on the next steps, from dealing with a faulty product such as a solar inverter, problems with installation and dealing with insolvent businesses.

You may also choose to take your complaint further by applying to a court or tribunal, such as the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), or seek your own independent legal advice.

Below are some handy contacts regarding who to contact to protect your consumer rights:

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV)

You can contact CAV to help resolve disputes between you, the customer, and traders. CAV enforces compliance with consumer laws.
T: 1300 55 81 81
www.consumer.vic.gov.au

Energy & Water Ombudsman Victoria (EWOV)

You can contact EWOV to investigate any customer complaint about electricity, natural gas, bottled gas (LPG) and water companies.
T: 1800 500 509 (free call) or 131 450 (interpreter service)
www.ewov.com.au

Essential Services Commission (ESC)

You can contact ESC for issues relating to the price, quality and reliability of essential services such as electricity.
T: 1300 664 969 or (+61 3) 9032 1300
www.esc.vic.gov.au

Reviewed 03 March 2021