AES Solar launches helpline after being ‘inundated’ with calls over suspect sales tactics

Scottish solar installer AES Solar has established a customer helpline for those who’ve received unscrupulous sales calls regarding unnecessary upgrades or maintenance.

The firm said it had taken the measure having been inundated by calls from people who had been approached with offers of added panels or associated parts.

Jamie Di Sotto, commercial director at AES, said the firm was reacting to demand having seen Moray Council issue a warning over bogus calls targeting the area.

“Since then we’ve had calls and customers dropping into the office saying they’ve been approached and seeking our genuine advice. We fear people are still at risk, hence why we have set up this number to offer advice and help,” he added.

Calls are focused on customers who already have solar installed and often suggest replacement inverters to make systems work more efficiently. Di Sotto added that these unnecessary works are often priced at between £4,000 and £7,000.

Unscrupulous sales tactics have become increasingly common in what is a worrying trend for the UK’s domestic solar industry. Numerous fire services have had to issue warnings to residents over so-called ‘kill switch’ scams which claimed emergency services would not respond to calls involving solar panels unless they had the devices attached.

Prior to this year’s Solar & Storage Live exhibition, Solar Power Portal conducted a survey of readers to uncover the extent of concern within the industry surrounding the mis-selling of inverters. It found that nearly 80% of respondents had been contacted by previous customers who had been approached with offers of upgrades or replacement.

A session at the show featuring representatives from the Microgeneration Certification Scheme and inverter manufacturers sought to get to the bottom of the issue, a review of which will be published on SPP later this week.

AES meanwhile has been praised by its local MSP Richard Lochhead for the launch of its helpline.

“To hear the people of Moray are being approached in this way and are potentially being conned out of large amounts of money for unnecessary work or work that can be done at a lower price is disgraceful,” Lochhead said.

Members of the public approached by third parties with offers of upgrades or maintenance can contact AES Solar for free advice on 0800 61010 91