Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service is warning residents to check the credentials of companies selling solar panels before they buy.

The warning follows complaints from some customers who signed a contract and paid a deposit after hearing a sales pitch at home.

But when these customers tried to exercise their legal rights and cancel the agreement within 14 days, some unscrupulous traders failed to refund the deposit or were uncontactable.

If you believe your consumer rights have been disregarded by a trader, or to report a potential rogue trader, contact the Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 04 05 06.

Trading Standards advises that before parting with any money to first check that the company is a member of the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) and that installers are registered on the Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS).

You can check a company’s accreditation on the RECC (www.recc.org.uk) and MCS websites (www.microgenerationcertification.org).

Following the sales pitch some consumers were pressured by being told that payments householders can receive if they generated their own electricity - the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) rates – could soon drop or stop completely.

If this is a concern you can check the latest FIT Generation & Export Payment Rates until March 2019 on the OFGEM website; https://www.ofgem.gov.uk/environmental-programmes/fit/fit-tariff-rates.

Stephen Gardiner, Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service’s Interventions Manager, said: “There are a number of legitimate solar companies, who will not apply undue pressure on you to sign up on the day and who would be happy to leave a consumer with calculations of potential returns to enable householders to make an informed decision at their own pace.”

Trading Standards advice is to only use local firms with good reputations or use a Buy With Confidence member, which are audited by Trading Standards


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