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Euro Solar fined $145,000 for false and misleading representations

by Solar Choice Staff on January 22, 2014

in Solar Choice News

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered Euro Solar (trading as P&N Pty Ltd and P&N NSW Pty Ltd), sister company Worldwide Energy & Manufacturing (WEMA) and their director Nikunjkumar Patel to pay fines totalling $145,000 for making false and misleading representations, according to a press release issued by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Euro Solar has never been an installer in the Solar Choice network. In February 2013, Solar Choice wrote to consumer advocate organisation Choice advising them of  Euro Solar’s conduct, and the potential damage that was being occasioned to the industry by their conduct.

The reasons the ACCC cited for the fines were the company’s ‘publishing fake testimonials’ and ‘making false or misleading representations about the country of origin of the solar panels they supply’. WEMA’s panels were previously sold under the brand name ‘Australian Solar Panels’ in spite of the fact that their country of origin is China.

The ACCC also determined that video testimonials about the company posted on YouTube were ‘not made by genuine customers of the company’. The same was found to be true about written testimonials on WEMA’s website. The fine for fabricating testimonials is the first of its kind in Australia.

“This is the ACCC’s first litigated outcome in relation to the specific prohibition against fake testimonials under the Australian Consumer Law,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. “Consumers should be able to trust that testimonials give honest feedback about a consumer’s experiences with a service or product. If they are not genuine, consumers may be enticed into making a purchase that they would not have otherwise made.”

According to the ACCC:

Justice Besanko found that the companies and Mr Patel engaged in careless and reckless conduct and knew that the representations made were both false and misleading.

His Honour also found that it was “suggested in some of the advertisements that not only were the solar panels made in Australia but that customers or potential customers ought to be supporting them because of that fact” and that these representations “were a central part of the respondents’ business and marketing strategy”.

Mr Patel, the sole Director of the companies, was issued a personal fine of $20,000 for his involvement, and has been:

“restrained for a period of 3 years from the date of this order in trade or commerce in connection with the supply or possible supply of solar panels, or in connection with the promotion of supply or use of solar panels, from being knowingly concerned in or party to the making by a corporation of any representation to the effect that those solar panels are made in Australia, when they are not.”

The companies have also been ordered to post a ‘corrective advertisement’ (below) about their misconduct.

Euro Solar Corrective AdvertisementClick to enlarge.

© 2014 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary McGuire October 7, 2014 at 8:58 pm

Last Thursday 2/10/14 a young man from Euro Solar came to my front door and started to tell me about the benefits of having solar panels installed and that it would reduce our power bill from $400-500 a quarter to $50-60 a quarter and that the whole lot (panels, installation and electrical work) was free because the Government was going to pay the costs. I asked him 3 time about the cost and each time he assured me that it was free of charge because the Government would cover the cost. Today (7/10/14) if rang Euro Solar and spoke to a man called Maris and he told me that the only thing that was free was the installation and the I would need a minimum of 6 1.5kw panels and that the panels and electrical work would cost $2,495. So much for the claim that Euro Solar would install the whole system for free and be payed for by the Government.

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peta October 30, 2014 at 1:06 pm

We went through euroSolar and had the panels installed on the 3 april. we have only just had them connected to the grid on the 24th October. they are ignoring our emails for seeking compensation after speaking with consumer affairs. the delay was caused by incorrect paper work they were responsible for on multiple occasions, with them advising the quality check. their was far to many incorrect information filled in to have been quality checked. there sales team advises that a full refund is given if not up and connected to the grid in 7 weeks but their terms and conditions say differently they are just trying to sale a product with lies. Word given by their employees should be part of the t&a’s… I think this business should be shut down. I will not back down until compensation is given for our electricity bills. they did the first one but wont continue. even tho the error was still caused by them

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Michelle August 12, 2015 at 11:30 am

we had a guy from euro solar come to our door and give us a speech about how much we would save with solar panels on our roof. We have always talked about solar panels and he made it sound achievable. Signed up for it and got approved straight away, payed over $300 for SA Power to come and install the solar ready meter. 3 months later and many lies over the phone and broken promises of call backs we still have no solar panels on our roof. The first whopper they told us was that the van had broken down on their way here and they would ring with a new time. The second was they had a flat tyre. Then all of a sudden we hadn’t been approved for finance through certegy and they wanted me to pay an $800 deposit. Then the guy started harassing me with different offers. Like, if I payed $4000 with my credit card they could install it. The lowest he dropped it to was $2400. Spent 4 weeks telling them they had d@$#*ed me around enough and I no longer wanted their services. Stay right away from these people. Spoke to certegy and they have said that they probably didn’t get approval through the correct channels. Now in the process of getting my application at certegy closed.

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phil August 25, 2015 at 5:33 pm

I have just had a EURO SOLAR salesman knock on my door 23/8/15 to flog me a 5kw system. How can this company still be trading when the courts restrained them for trading for 3 yrs. I live in nw nsw,country town, so they must,think we dont check on them,they are in the town to flog there wares

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Karen Svendsen April 11, 2016 at 4:32 pm

I have just had a Eurosolar male person come to my door…in far North Queensland remote mining town. As soon as he was gone I got straight online to check Eurosolar out. It just didn’t stack up somehow or even sound right. He wanted to take a photo of my meter box!!..”in case it needs updating”… I said NO way…watch out for these people. I was given a Eurosolar pamphlet with the guy’s number on it, I rang him within 5 mins of him being at my front door and cancelled an appointment. Making it clear that I’d read about their track record. NOT good enough!

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Dan October 21, 2015 at 8:06 am

I agree with Phil, I have todays Wollongong advertiser with a Eurosolar ad on page 20, the ad reads 5KW solar package for $4,299.
The ad also says NSW’s No.1 solar retailer in 2015.
I am a solar installer and I warn prospective customers of shonky opperaters and now here is the proof

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Anne Cooper March 10, 2016 at 10:21 am

Hi Dan, who would you recommend, then? and which panels and inverter?
I just cant work it out. But then Im a nurse… Im good at that!

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john atkinson October 30, 2015 at 10:23 pm

This mob convinced me to go with them and quickly took my deposit I then heard nothing from them for the next 2 weeks I then phoned them to ask about paperwork and thought oh no scammed when the number I rang informed me that it had been disconnected when I did get through and mentioned this they stated they were aware of it but could do nothing about it they also told me not to worry they take care of the paperwork I them got conformation from the energy company another 2 weeks I phoned them I think they work out a Indian call centre because all the staff have Indian accents I asked how my application was going the lad hummed and hard but could not give me any information I then requested my deposit back and was told he could not do that so I asked to be put onto the person who could to be told sorry my ,manager is not available I was then given the old run around before they hung up on me After reconnecting I was told that a form would be emailed to me that day This was confirmed by another phone call from the saleswoman who I spoke to when I agreed to having their services The form never came just a phatic plea to let them install the panel’s the next day needless to say a email was sent back resulting gin the form being sent which was filled in and sent back 4 days later someone contacts me asking why I was unhappy and that they would be keeping $220 of my $305 deposit as administration cost and that it would take 3 weeks to get it back to me told them see you in the small claims court if I don’t get all my deposit back THIS MOB ARE HPELESS they don’t any customer service they just want your money

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Anne Cooper March 10, 2016 at 10:22 am

always pay by credit card, then you can get it back

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Alice Hill October 31, 2015 at 9:39 pm

Door knocking Cairns too. Their offer is $2000 cheaper than local solar providers but the contract had to be signed in 2 weeks to access gov rebates. If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

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Stephen Simpson November 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

I bought a 5 Kw system from Euro Solar with black aluminum frames one has now failed there is a 25 year warranty on the panels but over 12 months and they charge for labour, after waiting 3 months for a replacement panel from China they now say the black panels are no longer made as they fail because of the greater heat. As other companies are offering them I believe I am being given the run around. Also after reading this forum, on checking the inverter it shows my German made inverter was only designed in Germany but made in Thialand, now worried about the quality of the panels. the moral is beware the advertizing and check everything.

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Lionel November 10, 2015 at 8:03 am

Got 5 kw fitted to my home 2 years ago and from 11/11/14 to1/11/15 have saved $88 I paid $3900 will take a long time to get my money back at this rate

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Daphne O'Donnell November 19, 2015 at 12:13 am

Hi I have just had a guy from Euro Solar knock on my door tonight 18/11/2015 trying to sell me solar panels with zero deposit and $35 per week for forty months this was for eight panels and 2kw after reading all these comments on this page I now know my answer thanks it does pay to check these things out

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Graham smith November 24, 2015 at 8:28 pm

Euro solar knocked on my door tonight at 6.40 pm in St. Helens tasmania. The solar consultant was a young Indian student from Brisbane named sushant Sharma. He was very pleasant and quite happy to engage in a discussion. He soon realised I was a very low user of electricity and said that as my bill was below $350 per quarter solar would not be a wise choice for me and then left to visit the next house. I do feel sorry for these young students. He was extremely bright, well spoken and definitely not a high pressure salesman. I wish him well with his future.

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Lynda December 1, 2015 at 11:54 am

I have received so many calls from Euro Solar, they ring at 7pm at night, midday, mobile and landline. They are persistant and annoying, bordering on harassment.

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Lea February 11, 2016 at 12:42 am

10 January 2016 – Brisbane

This company is SCAM and I can’t believe Australia are allowed this company to trade. I was mislead and informed a special of my 5W system will cost $3500. With that price I needed to put deposit of $300. I had to property’s so I deposited $600. After multiple emails and phone calls. All the males on the phone had Indian Accents with english names. When I called the office, person on the other line did not know a John or Martin, Paul. I’ve asked them for electrical licenses and was told to install and give them a date before this information can be given to me, I cancelled due to the fact they could not supply me with a valid license. I was told over the phone and emailed that I would receive full refund of my deposit. I am now told they never said that and admin fee of $150 will be taken out. All they do is lie to make sale so right now I am dealing direct with Fair Trading. They don’t have a main office and everyone you talk too doesn’t have an email or mailing address to send correspondence.
EURO SOLAR are still disleading customers. KEEP AWAY, NO ELECTRICAL LICENCE, NOT QUALIFIED TO INSTALL.

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Cally February 18, 2016 at 5:00 pm

I had a knock on the door the other afternoon (TUES) from Euro Solar, a nice young fella, though a bit too persistent for my liking. But we had considered getting solar, like many people do, so he said he could come back later with his manager, it would take about 10mins, so we agreed 6pm so my husband would be home from work. My husband wasn’t too keen after a days work but still obliged. It all went well, great incentives like ‘no deposit’ and ‘no interest ever’, we (and by ‘we’ I mean the manager) crunched the numbers (very quickly), we signed up (checking they have a cooling-off period)…happy days. Then WED morning, less than 24hrs later, my husband received a text from a ‘Martin’ … (I thought was interesting after reading the review from ‘Lea February 11, 2016 at 12:42 am ‘) stating that he was able to install our panels tomorrow…SAY WHAT?!?!? This is when alarm bells started going off for us. I rang back on my husbands behalf and said ‘no we don’t want them installed until at least the cooling-off period, we’d like to have a proper think about it’. The man on the phone just wanted to book in a date for installation regardless and said we could call them prior if we change our mind. So I made it for about 3 weeks away to give us time. Hence why I’ve done a search for reviews and found this fabulous little site. I saw the article about Mr Patel being restrained for 3 years from Feb 2013, which is why I thought that’s why we’ve heard from them now. But seeing these reviews from Oct 2014 has just made me see RED, but made my decision to cancel much easier (assuming they aren’t jerks about it). I’m so disappointed our dream of having solar power will just have to wait, but I’m so glad I feel like we may have dodged a bullet.
Plus crunch the numbers yourself, I have just been looking at it and while our usage would go down, the Supply Fee from the electrical company will always be the same daily rate, approx. $8 a week x 12 weeks = a $96 bill plus night time usage. Even with a 5kW system giving back to the grid and receiving credits, I can’t see how the credits would cover our bill – as the selling point ‘that it pays for itself’ would suggest. It must only apply if you get solar panels and practically don’t use it. Though the long term advantages of having solar are obvious, I want to go about it with confidence with a reputable company.
Thanks everyone for sharing your painful stories. They may have saved a few of us from the same pain.

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stephen February 26, 2016 at 7:01 am

I phoned and spoke to XXXX (name removed) of Euro Solar on 24/2/16. He offered a 5kw solar power system including free installation for $3300. He asked me to pay the deposit of $330. I asked him for his surname, he told me that he didn’t have a surname. Then, I phoned and spoke to another staff of Euro Solar to get the former’s surname. He didn’t give it to me too. Through our email correspondence, I asked XXXX to send me the terms and conditions of the contract agreement, So far, I never get them. Moreover, I asked XXXX to added or waive certain terms and conditions, such as the installation to be completed within 5 weeks after payment of deposit, that we had discussed and agreed. He didn’t give me the reply.
So, Euro Solar or XXXX is not a company or a person whom I would like to make or continue a deal.

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jeff March 8, 2016 at 3:34 pm

I find all these comments disconcerting. I had a 5kw installed on my house a bit over a year ago in port Adelaide did it all over the phone was installed in 4 weeks by a local licensed sparky and cant speak highly enough of them. I paid $2900 installed. the first bill was $150 as it was installed half way through the cycle. Last bill was $32. They can obviously get it right sometimes but decided to go shonky. Bloody shame really.
Jeff

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Chelleid March 16, 2016 at 10:09 pm

Had a young Indian student door knock at our place tonight. He was very well spoken and seemed to know his stuff. We have been considering solar for quite some time and he began to sow the seed of desire again that was fast growing into something more. Now however after some research and reading these comments here we are not so sure. Perhaps we will avoid this company. He is set to come back again in a day or two but maybe we will contact him and say forget it for now! Don’t wish to be bitten in any way.

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paul April 8, 2016 at 11:21 pm

thank god for these web sites i also had an Indian ring me yesterday with a great deal with german tecnology panels but he didn’t tell me that they were made in CHINA !!!!!! i’m giving them a big miss thanks for all your coments

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Adam Robson May 3, 2016 at 8:03 pm

Like many people you may be enticed by EuroSolar’s newspaper advertising and incredible pricing which seems too good to be true. Well guess what? It is too good to be true! I paid a $100 deposit to this company and was contacted the next day by one of their sales people telling me the solar panels that were originally quoted on were now out of stock so I would be getting some unknown brand name solar panels instead. The sales person also neglected to mention that Energex would be charging me an additional $300.60 to upgrade my meter box (often a requirement that company’s like EuroSolar fail to mention in their slick advertising material, but is buried deep in the very fine print of their contracts). I cancelled my installation with this company and requested a refund. Of course, no refund has ever been received. After reading the many other reviews on various websites about the terrible lack of service from this company (particular when faults occur), I actually believe my $100 loss was a actually a blessing in disguise. I am writing this review with the hope that no one else gets caught like I did. This company has also been fined by ASIC for misleading and fraudulent reviews and dishonesty regarding the solar panels they supply.

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JOHN WESTBY June 7, 2016 at 12:14 pm

Just signed up with EURO SOLAR on the 30/5/16 I live in Cairns so far so good dealt with salesman Raj, was invited down to Brisbane to view their depot at Acacia Ridge where I met up with Raj, All presented well and I thought very professionally handled, I would like to document my experience as they happen on my instalation of 5.0 inverter and 24 TN 250 poly panels, my E-mail jjwestby@bigpond.com if anyone privately want’s to talk to me, Hoping to prove you sceptics out there wrong I hope === John Westby

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M misganaw July 4, 2016 at 7:26 pm

I feel like I am robbed by Indo Solar Mafia group in a broad day light.
My Customer reference number is 69296 everything happened to all of you has happened to me.
I have been receiving their text message or calls at least 7 times a day.
“sir, when is the best time, to call you?”, ” can I call you now?”, ” may I call you now?”, “may I call you tomorrow?”… almost every day for five days until I made a deposit of $300.00. No calls after that. I ended up receiving an invoice of $3891.00 instead of the agreed $3647.00. Every time I call or text, no reply or the person who sold the system for me “Mr Fin” is not in today. I will be writing more about this under cover scum. I advise everyone who is intending to use their service to stay away from them.

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