“It was the best of times it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness”.
If you are wondering why I’m quoting Dickens from ‘A Tale of Two Cities’ is because that famous opening paragraph struck a chord with me in regards to something that happened last week. Two similar occurrences with two vastly different outcomes.
We had a call last week from a fellow on the North West Coast of Tasmania who wanted help to try and chase up a warranty on a failed inverter that was on an 8 year old solar system. I said ‘sure tell me the story and I will see if we can help’.
Basically, he bought a solar system with reasonable quality components from a national solar seller who are still around and still selling solar. His documents he was supplied with stated they had given him a 10 year warranty on his whole system, including his inverter. He read it out and it seemed to be reasonably clear cut. But unfortunately they were dodging his calls and not responding to emails. Effectively, they had ‘ghosted’ him to avoid their warranty obligations.
He asked if I could help him chase up the warranty with the manufacturer.
This is where it got a little bit convoluted.
The inverter in question only came with a 5 year manufacturer warranty and it was 8 years old so it was effectively out of warranty. In the event of an extended warranty being purchased, there would have been a extended warranty certificate and none had been supplied so I couldn’t really take it any further with the manufacturer.
Just as a side note; extended warranties are rubbish but I will talk about why another day.
So the warranty the solar seller had given him was their own-in house extended warranty. He purchased that system over other proposals he had taken the time to chase up as it was a big mainland company and they offered an in writing full system 10 year warranty. 8 years later he was chasing up that warranty only to find out it was not worth the paper it was written on. The poor bloke was so incensed by this treatment he wouldn’t consider replacing the inverter and he was going to rip the whole system off the roof.
Another side note; with entry level inverters, we would expect to replace the inverter around 3 times during the life of the panels and higher quality inverters probably twice.
The replacement inverter would have cost around $1,500 and would have taken around 1 year to recover its costs and all things being equal, should have made that client profit for another 9 years but the poor bloke was feeling so let down by his original seller that he was having none of it.
Now for another story; similar in happenstance but a completely different outcome.
We sold a SolarEdge system in 2011 and its been purring like a kitten for over a decade and the SolarEdge system notified us that it had developed a fault and at about the same time the customer rang us as well as he had seen it on his phone app.
This was a 10 year old inverter.
What were you doing in 2011?
I was still green as grass and still on a steep learning curve on how to design and install solar systems but the point being that it was a long time ago.
What happened next?
The SolarEdge inverter (as all SolarEdge inverters do) had a 12 year inverter warranty straight out of the box. We lodged the warranty case, it was approved the next day as they could interrogate the inverter remotely and see the fault which backed up the photos and measurements we took onsite. Another inverter was sent and fitted and its back up and running again with minimal delay at no cost to the customer and SolarEdge payed us for our time.
This is why the best of times and the worst of times really hit home with these two contrasting customer experiences.
So, what can people do differently?
Stay local is the first step. Mainland suppliers can promise the world as they know from the outset as once they have your money and you have made your purchase they are never ever coming back.
Local suppliers like DMS Energy; who live here, who are a part of your community and have nowhere to hide if things don’t go according to plan. We know we have to sell quality gear with reliable after sales service to do the right thing by us and our clients and in Tassie all good businesses know you are only as good as your last job and bad news travels fast.
You would almost think we lived on an island.
So there you have it. Stick local, buy quality and avoid the pitfalls of extended fanciful warranties that really are just a selling tool and not an actual consumer guarantee.
DMS Energy will help you take the risk out of purchasing solar and taking your decision to go solar from being a punt to a rock solid investment. When you purchase from DMS Energy you take advantage of our experience and expertise. Our research and development on solar products and installed by our in-house team of qualified and experienced electricians.
Lastly our fun energy fact is that lightning is five times hotter than the surface of the sun and can heat the air to 30,000 degrees Celsius and is equivalent in energy to denoting a ton of TNT!