Solar company and director fined $30,000 over false claims (Puresol Pty Ltd / Mysol / Daniel Leverett)
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A solar company and its Director have been fined a total of $30,000 by the Bunbury Magistrates Court on 24 January 2017 for misleading a consumer by making false claims about their solar panel system.
Puresol Pty Ltd, formerly trading as Mysol WA based in Bunbury, was fined $20,000 and ordered to pay costs of $2,864. Sole Director Daniel Victor Leverett was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay costs of $1,718. Mr Leverett did not appear for the court trial and was convicted in his absence.
The system being promoted by Mysol WA and Mr Leverett comprised of solar panels, marine cell batteries and an inverter which converts the solar power for storage in the batteries and for use in the home.
In August 2013, the company installed the system in the home of a Donnybrook resident who paid $10,600. When it was switched on, the inverter short-circuited and burnt out. A new inverter was installed but a number of the power circuits in the home did not work.
Further attempts to repair the system failed and an electrician disconnected the system which had never been operational.
The company and Mr Leverett both faced three charges each under the Australian Consumer Law of making false or misleading representations, by claiming that the solar panel system would:
- Take Australians off the grid;
- Slash power bills by up to 100 per cent; and
- Homeowners would stop paying for power as soon as the system was connected.
Puresol Pty Ltd faced two further charges of making false or misleading representations when selling the Mysol WA business on Gumtree in March and April 2014. The advertisement stated that it was “a very successful business” and had orders valued at $500,000. In fact, the business only had three customers who all cancelled their orders and demanded their money back.
In sentencing the company, Magistrate Bayly said that these were “bad breaches in the sense that the consumer paid for a system that never worked, was never likely to work and certainly would not have resulted in the stated benefits.”
In relation to the attempted sale of the business, the Magistrate said that it was “fortunate that no one purchased the business.”
The Magistrate did not award compensation as the consumer had already been granted a court order to have the money returned and $8,000 has been refunded by the company which is no longer operating.
Acting Commissioner for Consumer Protection David Hillyard said claims made by traders in their sales pitch and advertising must be accurate.
“Any claims made must stand up to scrutiny and be easily substantiated; otherwise traders can run afoul of consumer law,” Mr Hillyard said.
Consumers who believe they have been misled by a trader can lodge a complaint with Consumer Protection at www.commerce.wa.gov.au/cp . Enquiries can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 1300 30 40 54.
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