Company, director fined for breaching Australian Consumer Law requirements

A SOLAR company and its director have been fined $21,000 in Perth Magistrates Court for failing to notify customers of their rights to cooling off periods and breaching other requirements under Australian Consumer Law (ACL).

Solar Corporation Pty Ltd, trading as SolarGrid, Cool or Cosy Solar and Betta Solar, was fined $18,000 and the company’s sole director, who was granted a spent conviction, was fined $3000 on October 14 after pleading guilty to 24 charges under the ‘unsolicited consumer agreement’ provisions of the ACL.

A sales representative approached a shopper at Rockingham Shopping Centre in January 2013. The shopper agreed to get a quote while entering a competition. A sales representative visited the consumer and her partner’s home in Rockingham several days later and a SolarGrid contract valued at $16,900 was signed. About seven days later, a letter requesting the cancellation of the unsolicited consumer agreement was posted and emailed to the company.

In another case in December 2012, one of the company’s sales representatives called a shopper over to a temporary stand at Bunbury Forum Shopping Centre.

The representative invited the shopper to enter a competition to win a solar panel system. While entering the competition, the consumer agreed also to have a sales representative visit her home to provide an obligation-free quote.

Later, a sales representative visited the consumer’s home in Australind and a SolarGrid contract for a solar panel system valued at $13,900 was signed and a deposit of $890 was paid.

About five days later, the consumer wrote to the company requesting to cancel the contract.

Consumer Protection acting commissioner Gary Newcombe said companies that engage in this style of marketing must abide by the rules.

“Whether the sales agent approaches the consumer uninvited at their home or in a shopping centre, there are clear rules set out by the Australian Consumer Law to ensure that the consumer is protected from pressure to sign an unsolicited consumer agreement on the spot,” he said.

For more, visit www.commerce.wa.gov.au/doortodoor or call 1300 30 40 54.