Consumer Credit and solar installations – a salutary tale

A Northern Irish solar company has been fined £2,000 after a couple was mis-sold a system based on its financial returns.

The case was brought against Blue Build Energy by the Trading Standards Service (TSS) after a couple complained that they had agreed the purchase of the system based on false information relating to the projected financial returns.

The couple agreed to pay back a ten year loan of over £18,000 at a cost of £152 per month after the salesperson claimed they would only have to pay the first three months of instalments. They were told that after the first three months the system would pay for itself.

However, the first income generated by the system did not arrive until almost a year after installation and was insufficient to cover the monthly payments.

Blue Build Energy was found guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (31 May) in respect of a charge under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and were subsequently fined.

As subsidies for renewable technologies are cut, there will be an increasing reliance on finance to cover the costs of equipment and installation. Vendors and installers will need to be clear on the likely returns and provide a true estimate of the likely returns.

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While great care has been taken in the preparation of the content of this article, it does not purport to be a comprehensive statement of the relevant law and full professional advice should be taken before any action is taken in reliance on any item covered.