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Consumer Law Update: Solar Retailer Code of Conduct

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If you are selling solar panels in Australia, you should know about a scheme the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) recently re-authorised at the end of 2015.

The Solar Retailer Code of Conduct provides guidelines to retailers of solar products as to how they can sell products, maintain ethical standards and warranties. Although the Code is not mandatory to sign up to, it’s beneficial for retailers because they can promote themselves as a business that meets these standards as an Approved Solar Retailer. Businesses can then leverage signing up for the Code as it’s not an automatic process. As this is a new and growing industry, the Code should also help consumers understand the minimum standards expected of solar products. Many consumers may be buying solar products for the first time, so may be unsure what to look out for.

The Regulator: What is the ACCC’s Role?

The ACCC’s overarching role is to protect consumers. When the solar industry began in Australia, the lack of regulations or clear guidelines would have been confusing for consumers. They would have easily been subject to retailers who did not meet the requisite standards for both the products and installation.

The Approved Retailer scheme will also include businesses that not only sell but also provide loans and other solar financing arrangements. Any business aiming to be an Approved Solar Retailer is required to apply and meet the regulations.

What Should Solar Retailers Know?

If you are a solar retailer, we can provide you with assistance regarding rebates and other obligations that may arise. We can also advise you on your obligations under the Australian Consumer Law to ensure that you are correctly selling and marketing your solar products, irrespective of whether you sign up to the Code. This could include promoting the product as an alternative to other energy sources, or if you are promoting that the product can reduce your bills, it is necessary to substantiate any claims that you might make about the product. You may also like to have detailed disclaimers and warranties set out in your terms which address how the product will and will not perform.

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In Short

When you are selling solar products, it is important to take care and ensure that you are meeting your obligations. If you require more information about becoming an Accredited Solar Retailer or your obligations if you are subscribed to the Code, let us know. Our experience assisting solar retailers with a number of legal issues best places us to help you with yours.

Questions about solar products and regulations? Get in touch on 1300 544 755.

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