Thursday, July 18, 2024

Avoiding photo voltaic panel scams in France: Important suggestions and recommendation


Bad practices embody extreme delays, exaggerated guarantees, and strain to enroll ‘on the spot’, says the buyer group

The demand for photo voltaic panels is growing however which means that scams and unhealthy practices are additionally growing

Up to a 3rd of people that have photo voltaic panels put in at dwelling in France have been affected by a rip-off, with some spending 1000’s of euros on panels that do not work or aren’t related.

A examine by the buyer group UFC-Que Choisir means that greater than a 3rd (36%) of individuals in France who’ve photo voltaic panels put in have been victims of a rip-off or fraudulent observe.

This comes because the demand for photo voltaic panels elevated considerably final yr, with the share of geared up properties growing by 619% year-on-year in 2023 in comparison with 2022.

There will probably be 550,000-600,000 properties with photo voltaic panels in France in 2023, EDF ENR figures present, in comparison with 80,000 in 2022.

Common scams and points

Vulnerable householders — together with the aged and people trying to save cash — are most vulnerable to scams.

“The most typical scams are ‘1 euro’ photo voltaic panels, faux RGE (Reconnu garant de l’environnement) certificates, unrealistic guarantees of double-digit returns, or exaggerated financial savings charges of electrical energy,” Thomas Cautier, a specialist in photo voltaic power, and founding father of Sunethic, SPOKE Le Figaro.

The RGE is a vital certificates if you wish to obtain state monetary help to your power renovation work, such because the MaPrimeRenov authorities grant or the prime Certificat d’économies d’énergie (CEE).

Also learn: What assist is offered to put in photo voltaic panels at dwelling in France in 2024?
Also learn: Home restore grants simplified in France from in the present day

Mr Cautier additionally advises customers to keep away from photo voltaic panel firms that make deceptive claims concerning the potential financial savings out there. “Reducing your invoice by 50% is at all times essentially the most you are able to do, however no extra,” he warns.

‘€35,000 free’

Some householders do not essentially fall sufferer to a prison rip-off, however expertise large delays and connection issues, costing them 1000’s and inflicting them years of stress.

Also learn: Help to restore French home broken by lack of licensed builders
Also learn: Hundreds are suing over delays in delivering power repairs in France

A resident of Gers (Occitanie), who lately retired, mentioned: “I spent €35,000 for nothing.”

He already has two photo voltaic panels put in on his roof, however “nonetheless would not know” when he will probably be related to the Enedis community, he mentioned. “I’ve no data from the installer, nothing from Enedis, nothing from the Syndicat d’élextricité de Gers.

“I’m unhappy as a result of I misplaced €4,000 a yr,” he mentioned.

Trade reveals: patrons beware

Some householders – typically below strain from gross sales pitches – join panels at commerce reveals, the place a 14-day ‘cooling off’ interval is normally allowed for brand new contracts not make the most of

This implies that any contract signed at a commerce present is remaining, even should you later change your thoughts or really feel pressured into it.

Sellers are certain by legislation to tell the shopper of this on the time of signing, however inevitably some ‘overlook’ to say it.

One buyer mentioned this occurred to him when he signed up for photo voltaic panels and a water heater whereas visiting the Salon de l’Agriculture in Paris. The contract was for €40,000, however he acquired an ‘at-show low cost’ of virtually €10,000.

The man was suspicious and wished to again out of the deal, however was informed it was too late.

“The vendor tried to take €2,000 from my account as a deposit,” he mentioned Le Figaro. “The subsequent day, I informed him that I suspended my buy as a result of it was too costly and he informed me that it was too late. He threatened me and informed me that I must take authorized motion if I do not pay.”

The shopper is now concerned in a authorized dispute with the vendor, however it isn’t sure that he’ll win his case, as a result of he ‘voluntarily’ visited the Salon and signed up.

Rising power prices

Rising power prices are partly behind this enhance in demand for photo voltaic, say professionals.

The panels allow a family to supply 30-40% of the electrical energy they use, thus serving to them save considerably on power payments in the long run – regardless of the excessive prices.

“The variety of photo voltaic installations between the primary quarter of 2023 and 2024 has quadrupled for us,” mentioned photo voltaic panel set up specialist Sylvain Le Falher, co-founder of HelloWatt. “The costlier the electrical energy, the extra worthwhile it’s to put in photo voltaic panels.”

However, he says the cost-effectiveness of the panels is determined by how a lot daylight your roof will get, and the forms of panels put in.

Also learn: France revamps power restoration grant scheme to extend uptake

How can I keep away from getting caught in a photo voltaic panel rip-off?

  • Avoid signing a contract for panels or installations at an trade present or commerce honest, and solely signal immediately with the enterprise on their premises or by way of their mounted phone line, to make sure that you’re supplied with 14 days ‘cooling off’ interval if you wish to use.

  • Avoid signing up for a cellphone contract immediately, particularly if you’re chilly calling. A superb salesperson will at all times get away from you and take into consideration your choices, ask questions, and take your time earlier than signing something.

  • Check out all RGE-certified firms at France-Renov official web site right here.

  • Double verify that an organization is definitely RGE-certified the federal government database right here.

  • Be alert to any gives that appear ‘too good to be true’, or closely discounted. This might be an indication of a rip-off or an organization that’s struggling.

  • Get a number of quotes from completely different firms, independently, earlier than continuing. A good firm will probably be glad to offer you a no strings hooked up quote.

  • Don’t signal something except you’re 100% glad to go forward with the contract and venture. Do not signal any ‘pre-paperwork’ or related, as this can be ‘misunderstood’ as consent.

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