When is a warranty not a warranty?
This is a tricky question as in Australia we have Australian consumer law which on paper looks as those the consumer has a fantastic array of protection.
And it really does protect consumers very well except for a few instances.
Let’s list a few tricks that make it really hard for the consumer to unravel what warranty they really have and this can apply to any product but for this instance lets look at solar related products.
The Grey Import
You would ultimately think the manufacturer would hold the warranty but grey importing products gets around this issue. It is where a supplier buys bulk direct from a manufacturer generally at a reduced price and they to hold the warranty. So in this case the importer holds the warranty. Also this grey imports quite a seconds or rejects off the line as well.
The benefits to the people selling that product is they can leverage off the brand name, beat everyone else’s price selling the same product and then wind up the importing company when things turned pear shaped thus absolving them of any liability as the company that hold the liability no longer exists.
Another variation of this is the sticker change.
This one is another common one and once again an importer approaches a manufacturer and buys in bulk, could be seconds, could be okay but they put their own sticker on the product. They usually have a tendency to stick outlandish warranty periods on them. One we used to come across was a cheap Chinese panel that the manufacturer used to give a 10 year warranty on but the importers gave the product a fancy new name and attached a 30 year warranty. These panels are now dropping like flies and the importer has disappeared so 30 years turned out to be no warranty.
Rule of thumb never buy re-labelled or renamed panels as you have no idea what the back room warranty provisions are.
Another trick is the ‘get-out-of-dodge’ move.
This one is brutal for customers as the manufacturer has an office in Australia, talk up a big warranty with lots of local support and when the going gets tough they simply leave Australia and their warranty liabilities behind. Renesola were one such brand. A product much beloved by all the budget low price solar sellers. There are thousands and thousands of them installed around Tasmania. They just up and left back to to china, nearly every single company that sold that product has now closed the doors as well. Warranty on those products is nil.
This is the most popular con game of all.
You simply set up a company. Sell the cheapest gear you can find and soon as things start to breakdown you close that company down and start another one. Keep in mind even the most horrible gear will give you around 3 to 5 years grace.
This type of abuse is almost an Australian institution. Everyone is doing from mining companies to power companies. It’s the ultimate get out of jail free card.
Some of the abuses of this are so flagrant they make you sick. One mainland company, a well known one. Had their first name and the word solar joined together as one word. They were in trouble with all the stuff they installed falling apart. So they canned their ABN, reopened the next day with the same name, logos and everything but a new ABN and now have a space between their first name and the word solar. There are thousands of their systems installed in Tasmania all with no warranty or after sales support.
How do you avoid these pitfalls?
Pretty simple and that is buy local, buy from local providers who have been in the industry for quite some time.
Buy products from big industry players.
At DMS Energy we sell LG panels plus a few others but every single one has a major presence in Australia, is diversified so they just don’t just do solar. Can you imagine what would happen to LGs sale of their huge range of products in Australia if they had bad press about not honouring warranties? A $54 billion per year turn over company, they are not going any where in a hurry.
Selling high quality products protects our business use as much as it protects the clients. It becomes a solid investment and not just a punt. DMS Energy has done the research work on what works best and what is the most reliable choices on the market so you don’t have to.
So stick local, DMS Energy is about as local you can get. My kids go to school with my clients kids, we have been doing this for 13 years, we are the leading solar installers and energy efficiency specialists on the north west coast. We want you to have a positive experience as after all we are just Tasmanians looking after Tasmanians