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Collapse Issue 437 - 29 Jan 2018Issue 437 - 29 Jan 2018
Collapse  NEWS NEWS
Holstein moves to revive Rawson Rd level crossing work
Water main break causes extensive traffic delays
Councillor calls for banners in West St
Ryans Rd construction starts after two-month delay
Council approves non-complying development
Caution urged with door-to-door solar salesmen
Peaceful outcome to 'seige'
Man refused bail on animal cruelty charges
Council upgrades Umina Beach viewing area
Hotel applies for $2 million renovations
Bays community group to hold Fair on the Green
Tie dredging to beach renourishment, says Chamber
Rescue helicopter called off
Justice support volunteers sought by disability service
The Entrance dredging at 'a slap in the face' - Tesch
New service 'established' at Killcare
Pelican rescue season 'most traumatic'
Funding campaign for injured dog
Tesch pleased with support for youth festival
Council lodges application with itself for library changes
Traffic lights needed at roundabout, says Chamber
Council meeting rescheduled
Registered club promotes responsible drinking
Bowling club to celebrate 100-year-old ex-serviceman
Sand sculptures to come down
Tesch looks at transport issues
Donated truck already put to use
Women invited to be apply for advisory group positions
Collapse  FORUM FORUM
Would road repairs spoil 'vast eternal plan'?
Peninsula housing affordability problem won't go away
Make the Peninsula accessible to all ages
Everyone is a Woy Woy town centre stakeholder
We should all have the opportunity to participate
A pity if commendable community plan came to nothing
Our beaches are completely unnatural
Fight for our bio-diversity before it is gone forever
Collapse  ARTS ARTS
Theatre groups starts search for playwrights
Filmmaker to speak at Woy Woy library
Patonga artist supports junior portrait prize
New gallery to be established in Ettalong
Choir practice resumes
The lady with the pink hair
Collapse  SPORT SPORT
Killcare hosts Central Coast Nippers carnival
Charity bowls raises $1275
Surf clubs to raise money through container collection
Mixed fours championship held in the heat

Caution urged with door-to-door solar salesmen

Peninsula residents should be cautious in dealing with any organisation selling "discount" solar energy packages door-to-door.

That is the message from both NSW Fair Trading and the Central Coast Community Energy Association following reports of door-to-door salesmen being active on the Peninsula.

"Consumers should be suspicious of people who offer cheap deals or pressure them into accepting their offer," Fair Trading said in response to questions from Peninsula News.

"Door-to-door sales involve salespeople visiting your home to sell goods and services, including utilities.

"Often, these salespeople use pressure tactics to influence you into buying something you may not need or can't afford."

Central Coast Community Energy Association founder, Mr Jo Muller, said the association supported "powering the Central Coast with community-owned renewable energy".

"We want to educate members of the community to make sure that they make the right decisions and are not lured into some obscure deals because they have no way of comparing the offers," he said.

The association's website has useful calculators and it meets regularly to provide independent guidance about its options.

Door knockers from Smart Energy Group appear to be currently targeting the Peninsula, with a "community bulk buy" scheme for solar installation.

On the card they leave, they advertise free "community installation", where in fact it appears payment is required for the installation over up to seven years, at an undisclosed interest rate.

While claiming to be "solar specialists" who will "provide a tailored solution for your property", they are not licensed solar installers, but sub-contract that out.

Similarly while offering to help arrange finance, they are not a licensed finance company.

It appears they even contract out their marketing and sales at times.

"Want to run a bulk-buy campaign for your community? Get in touch and nominate your community to be next to reap the rewards," the company's website states.

There are no technical or pricing details of the systems offered by the company on its website.

Mr Muller said "I have never heard of this company before and I am also concerned, especially as their website is extremely blurry on information.

"An offer of finance might actually be a rip off as it may be much better to finance solar systems from an existing home loan at low interest rates."

Smart Energy Group managing director Mr Beau Savage confirmed his company was selling solar energy packages door-to-door on the Peninsula.

Mr Savage said the Smart Energy Group had been in operation for "about a year".

The group's door-to-door representatives have been leaving "Community Bulk Buy Savings Vouchers" in residents' mailboxes if they are not home when their door is knocked.

The voucher includes a Community Installation Fee of $0 with a crossed-out Installation Fee RRP of $2380.

Mr Savage said: "We work in individual areas at a time and bulk buy solar systems for that particular community so that we are able to reduce the overall cost for each customer.

"Solar can be expensive, so community bulk buys enable the cost of the system to be significantly reduced so that everyone can afford it.

"The reason we do door-to-door is because from our experience people prefer it this way and for Australia it's the most common method, however we also use other methods too."

Mr Savage said some customers pay off the cost of the solar installation over seven years and claimed that the costs, after the installation bulk buy "discount" range from $2000 to $4000 for systems from 3kW to 15kW.

"We don't [have a credit licence] as we aren't a finance company, but we are authorised to help the customers go through the finance company who are licensed to organise credit," he said.

NSW Fair Trading advised: "Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory when you wish to check if a request or offer is genuine, and don't be pressured into signing contracts without taking the time to weigh up the pros and cons."

According to Fair Trading, if you ask a door-to-door sales person to leave immediately, they cannot return to your home for the same seller for 30 days.

If you decide to sign an agreement you must be given a copy that includes the salesperson's and supplier's contact details, total price including GST and how it is calculated and your rights to cancel the agreement if you change your mind.

Fair Trading said there is a cooling off period for door-to-door sales which means the purchaser has 10 business days to cancel the agreement if they change their mind.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), if a salesperson has breached your legal rights you may be entitled to a longer cooling off period of up to three months.

Central Coast Community Energy Association provides advice about the costs of solar conversioni at cccommunityenergy.org.

With concerns about any door-to-door sales, contact NSW Fair Trading on 133220.

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