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 the company, based in Newtownards, County Down, had agreed the sale of system based on false information.
The charge related to a sales visit to the couple’s home where a representative discussed the financing of the solar PV system through a loan.
The couple were convinced to agree 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 the system would pay for itself from that point on.
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.
Kevin McNamara of the TSS said: “This was a case of mis-selling. Solar PV systems are expensive items - in this case the consumers will have paid out over £18,000 after ten years.
“There is a lot of detailed information for consumers to take on board before coming to a decision, so it is important that they are not misled in respect of the information they are given. This is the sort of unfair practice the Consumer Protection Regulations were brought in to address.”
Blue Build Energy said that it "deeply regretted" the case and insisted it was "never the intention of the company to mislead the customer".
“We have always successfully dealt with any complaints which in all these years have amounted to fewer than one per cent,” Blue Build managing director Ewan Melvin said.
This article has been amended from its original version to include commentary from Blue Build Energy.