Have you been contacted directly by a call centre or by letter to have a free solar panels health check?
If so – And you own solar panels, then it is YOU that needs to carry out the checks.
With respect to the letters, bin them they are not genuine no matter how legitimate they look. If the callers are pushy or say that they have someone in the area, or that they are calling from MCS, Ofgem, The Government or even us, then you need to request the 6 points below immediately:
– Ask for their MCS member number
– Ask for their HIES or RECC member number
– Ask for their mainline telephone number
– Ask for their company registration number
– Ask for their registered office or trading address
– Ask for their electrical qualification membership number or accreditation body
If they will not give you a Mainline phone number, hang up the phone and do not take further calls. It is as simple as that. If you manage to get the mainline number, and company registration number with address, still do not allow them to book an appointment with you at your home. Instead, you absolutely need to check who these people are.
Firstly, if you can check companies house then see if the company exists, if the address is correct then who or what they are and what they really want to do.
(The link to companies’ house search is below)
If you are not able to use the link then call us; 01268 552868, we will check for you.
A newly formed company based at a shell or accommodation address should have alarm bells ringing straight away. Sometimes when we look these firms up, they have a Nature of Business listed as: Retail sales not listed in stores, or something unconnected to Renewable energy or Trade of electricity.
A company that does not have 3 years trading history really needs to be looked at more in depth. Do not be scared to ask who their accountants are, who their directors are. Why? Often the caller does not know, largely because there often are not any.
When you probe these people, they do not have the answers and will continue to push on and try to book an appointment with you. Often, they will hang up only to phone again another day.
(Read our Blog post on why they keep ringing)
If the caller or company do have HIES, RECC or MCS membership then you should be safer. But still, you need to check. Remember they have contacted you not the other way around, so surely, they should expect you to be cautious?
(The links to check membership are below – click on the link and input the companies name)
Remember, they will need HIES or RECC but must have MCS.
Once you have carried out the due diligence checks and are satisfied that the company is Bonafede then call back on the main line number and ask them what it is they are coming to do.
You can check your system warranties by yourself. If you can easily access the inverter then take the serial code, make, and model and contact the manufacturers. Again, if you do not know how, then supply us with the inverter make and model, serial code, and any date of installation of date of manufacture.
Just because your warranty has expired DOES NOT mean that it no longer works or poses a fire risk. Remember also that your local building control officer, or local trusted domestic electrician can carry out a quick electrical test for less than £100 if you are concerned. If you have a married property, then a simple PAT test of your appliances and including the inverter can be a very economical route to peace of mind.
HIES is simple to gain membership of, although they will weed out the unscrupulous eventually. Some of the problem companies we have listed from callers to our offices do have HIES membership but not MCS. Sometimes they are working towards MCS and will never succeed. Others manage to get MCS but are not able to keep it.
Consumers have reported some of the worst cases of fraud or poor workmanship whilst the company is in the first year of gaining MCS and HIES because they can appear more credible. Often these companies won’t make it through the first-year audit, and when notified they are being removed will up the pace in taking deposits for works, they will never complete, or by selling worthless warranties.
(See our blog post of worthless warranties)
Check installers registered with MCS here:
Check installers registered with HIES here:
Check installers registered with RECC here:
Nappit member search:
NICEIC members search:
Companies in the UK search:
(See our further Blog post on Warranties, and why these companies are offering a free health check? and Why & How do they keep ringing?)