/ Home & Energy

Who rules the roof? The downfall of a solar company

Which? members helped stop a £50m solar panel company in its tracks recently, after the extent of its dodgy trading was uncovered through numerous complaints. But is this the tip of the iceberg?

Over the last year, we received a series of complaints about the same solar panel company, Solar Energy Savings (SES). Which? members told us SES had bombarded them with ‘hard sales’ pitches, had sent panel installers who damaged and caused leaks to their roofs, and had used mis-selling tactics, such as promising the panels would work better than they could.

These complaints were obviously concerning, so we liaised with the Insolvency Service which was running an investigation. It was found that SES, which had offices across Britain (and was turning over a huge £50m per year), was using serious mis-selling tactics. This included claiming SES was a member of a trade body when it was not.

Plus, SES was found to have used high pressure sales tactics – using sales pitches that lasted over two hours, with customers eventually signing contracts merely to get the salespeople out of their homes.

One down, but how many to go?

Following the Insolvency Service’s investigation, Solar Energy Savings Ltd was wound-up at the end of July by the High Court in Manchester. Interestingly, it did not admit to the allegations but neither did it object to the winding-up order.

Although we here at Which? tend to shout a quick ‘hurrah!’ when such dodgy traders get shut down, we presume those that fell victim to SES have little chance of getting money back or getting out of the scheme – a sickening thought.

What is also worrying is that this company is potentially one of many that are lurking out there, as suggested in a previous Conversation when JunkkMale told us:

‘Everyday almost I get a card in the letterbox or an email pitching solar, often implying a ton of “free”… but, as with lunches, I have my doubts’

Sorting the wheat from the chaff

We’ve produced a downloadable solar PV installation checklist that includes tips and advice on what you should do, and the questions to ask, before, during and after a visit from a solar PV installer. We hope that this checklist will empower people to sort the wheat from the chaff when filtering through solar PV companies.

I’d also like to point out that despite the attraction of the feed-in tariff, we haven’t seen that many cowboys operating, which is probably thanks to the certification scheme in place.

My personal circumstances won’t allow for a solar investment, but I’m worried that my solar-keen family may accidently bump into a company like Solar Energy Savings and get misled or ripped-off. But is this just a case of one company ruining it for the rest? Have you had any good or bad experiences with solar companies?

Comments
Wendy says:
14 May 2015

Has anyone has solar panels installed by Solar Electricity Solutions (trade as Solar Electricity Systems). Reviews on this company seem to be far and few between yet they claim to be Scotland’s premier installer? Thanks

Simon says:
14 May 2015

Solar Power Scotland made the same claim and they turned out to be the worst company on RECC’s books and cost me £10.000 and years of stress and at last count the total owed to government and individuals was £3M. See posts above. So in my opinion, this claim means nothing. I would recommend visiting the company offices to see what sort of people they are and ask to speak to as many customers as you can. There is no point talking to RECC as they will divulge nothing about any company they cover no matter how badly they are performing. Keep records of every conversation and transaction and double check all claims and offers at point of sale and get them to put everything in writing. Good luck.

Graham says:
18 May 2015

Hi Wendy
We had solar electricity systems and Scottish solar out. When the salesman came out to see us from both we just preferred the system and guarantees offered by solar electricity as they were manufacturers ones. We also visited 2 existing customers in our area (Cumbernauld) for there opinions. I thought this was a good way to confirm our initial thoughts.

Hi Graham,
We’ve had a Solar Electricity Systems sales guy in to talk to us about their system but he wouldn’t give us any names of customers – data protection – how are you getting on with your system? Is it doing what they said it would?

We had Solar Electricity Systems panels installed in March. I am deeply disappointed as we are making nowhere near what the salesman told us. We are not making even half of the loan repayment to Barclays. Totally mis-sold this product and I’m waiting a response back from the company. I will be taking this further.

Hi Zena, many thanks for this – it may be all I need to know!
We were quoted £8k for a 4kw system. IS that similar to your situation?

We had the same problem with Energy Saving Direct, and when threatened with mis selling and trading standards we were told “it’s your word against ours”. They have given us £87 compensation, wow, considering they had 7000 off us.

Sarah says:
2 November 2015

We had Solar Electricity Systems out about 8 months ago.
They blatantly lied about the feed in tariff rates – my husband works in the energy industry and checked. They tried to get us to sign up to a loan with Barclays without explaining what it was – luckily we weren’t daft enough.
I checked on Companies House after they left and the company was dissolved, and yet they’re still knocking on doors!
Some of our neighbours got them installed and wouldn’t listen when I told them the company had dissolved.

John holden says:
16 November 2015

That’s good to know I’ve just had them at my door and there going to be coming back in a couple of days so they can talk to my wife and I about the benefits, while I’ll be asking them about their dissolvancy, I wonder what their reply will be.

This happened to me to what can I do

Hi Pat , I have had the same thing with energy saving diretc what did they do to you?
Paul

Mrs Annoyed says:
16 March 2016

how are you getting on with this Zena, im in the exact same position with them

hi i am the same and when i tryed to pay more money to Barclays the said i would get a fine for paying it back?and when i put my units to the grid they said i should be making more money than that,so they said that might be a pannel out and need a mot.and solar electricity system went down under april this year so im out of pocket and if the pallels stop working then what.someone help where i stand on getting my money back or that?

Suhaib says:
6 June 2015

I have had Scottish solar out with a quote. Can anyone give me feedback about the company and there experiences and reviews please.

David McCabe says:
24 August 2015

HI. We’ve just had Solar Electricity Systems out. Can I ask how you got on with them?

Graham says:
25 August 2015

We opted for a 3.5kw system via there finance plan after visiting existing customers in our area. It’s been around 3 months now and we have put in our first reading to Scottish power. Long may the Fit payments continue.
Graham

Pauline says:
22 November 2015

We invested in 10solar panals almost 3years ago, about two months ago five of the panels stopped working. The company has now gone into liquidation, so what do we do? Invest more money to repair them? The inverters have proved to be working OK. So it must be the panels that are ñot. working,it reach them we would need scaffolding, all costing money. We are wondering if they are really worth the initial cost…So beware

Hi Pauline, More info please. How many of what size and make of inverter please. How do you know the inverters are working. What where you told to lead you believe”5 panels” have stopped working.

Martin Arrowsmith says:
22 June 2016

Its unlikely to be the panels …it will be a string down maybe a faulty mc4 connection or the inverter side of things …ive been installing solar for 7 years 1000’s of installs and never been back to a faulty panel

Dont bother with the following if you have a problem

Ofgem
RECC
MCS
Trading Standards

None will pick up the phone in 5-10mins and they will do nothing about cowboy solar companies.

Trading standards are dealing with my complaint against helms.

How did you get on with your complaint about helms. They totally lied to us about solar panels and don’t know who to complain to about them?

Report them to trading standards and the financial ombudsman

I would also be interested in this we have found out the mess we are in with HELMS mis selling , I have contacted everyone from their Liquidators to Ombudsmen who out of the group are not even sure who is dealing with this

Hiya, I would contact Trading standards . Trading Standards Scotland seem more proactive than the rest of U.K. So depends where you live. I d get in touch with Financial Service Ombudsman they are dealing with the mis selling allegations. They are know to them as well as all the other regulatory bodies.

The Financial Ombudsman appears to be dealing with the bulk of the mis selling allegations.

we tried the Fin Ombud but because Helms are in liquidation they say there is nothing they can do

so far Green deal ombudsman, Financial Ombudsman, Citizens Advice consumer and a whole host of other people who are not interested or there is nothing they can do

the liquidators were actually the most informative about the amount of complaints they have had

this is a mess, and no one want so dip there hand in or dedicate resources, the Utility company we use are absolutely awful and have been no help infact it has raised more questions than answers, because we are selling our house our solicitor is involed

This is getting hilariously bad, i contacted the people that fitted these on behalf of Helms (liquidated) PC Solar uk (the same directors) these people get the feed in tariff (FIT) and asked who owns this equipment – we own the equipment, and we are paying for it under the green deal, they get the FIT, so we pay they get paid – they are adamant almost argumentative that we signed a credit agreement with Helms however i know we did not, (you tend to remember signing over vast amounts of cash)

Ian says:
11 May 2016

Hi Christian I’ve just to day spoke to the financial ombudsman they are now aware of the mess we seem to be in concerning helms and they have given me a case number so give them a ring

Hi Ian just been reading through some of above comments, we have been waiting 6 months for helms to contact us about fitting battery for panels lost count of number of calls not returned do you think this is something the ombudsman would look at along with lots of other complaints by the sound of it?

Ian says:
19 May 2016

Hi Tracy r u aware that helms have gone bust make your complaint to the liquidator at KLM.sw @hotmail.co.UK all in upper case have you been miss sold your system

Yes I would also contact Trading standards via Citizen Advice line.They are known to all regulators,including trading standards.

I d give financial ombudsman a ring they ‘re very helpful and will tell you where you stand

What was the outcome?

the financial ombudsmans case has been put on hold at present regarding the helms case, I honestly believe they are quietly trying to sweep this whole mess under the carpet and hope it goes away, trading standards Scotland are preparing a case to present to the Glasgow procurator fiscals office. I don’t think that will help anyone financially, I myself intend to complain to the p.m as this whole fiasco of a greendeal plan was government backed and funded.

Would love to see him jailed after the stress he has caused. I’ve already been dealing with the Scottish government as I feel it’s a government scheme and we’ve been ripped off by these low life people.

We had helms said we signed a satisfaction certificate to pay the loan to shawbrooks we refused to sign and form is still here someone else has signed it .company went into liquidation 2 weeks after loan started ombudsmen sorting it out at the moment

We have been charged 21.000.00 beware

Apparently Robert Skillen is living in Dubai at moment

What a coincidence I received the same document that I d never seen before or signed.

PV Solar UK says:
22 November 2016

Hello. We have recently become aware of this posting and would like to clarify the situation. PV Solar UK (referred to above erroneously as ‘PC Solar UK’) do not own any Feed in Tariffs and did not sell any green deal agreements. Our managing director has never been an employee or director of Helms. We are one of many installers who worked for green deal providers and while we sympathise with any losses incurred due to Helms’ liquidation, we are unable to assist other than to direct customers to the liquidators.

Just for information according to Companies House, a director of PV Solar UK company no SC369315 was R L Skillen who resigned recently (1/8/16) and is currently listed as the current officer of Home Energy and Lifestyles Ltd (Helms). Another director common to both companies resigned from both 1/7/15. This is not suggesting any impropriety on the part of PV Solar UK but they have had a common recent ex- director involved in a liquidated company leaving customers out of pocket.

What a coincidence two people called Emily Sarah Peace. One is the director of Pv Solar Uk Ltd and the other person called Emily Sarah Peace dealt with my complaint at Helms Uk Ltd!!!.
PvSolar Uk Ltd are effectively the same company PV Solar investments collect the Feed in Tariff on behalf of Helms Uk Ltd.

The most recently appointed director worked for Helms Uk Ltd. She dealt with my complaint!

Pc solar uk ltd have the same employees .Current director was previously employed by Helms. Nice try Pv Solar uk

You are the exact same company and employees as helms.stay clear of this company.

I had panels fitted by Scottish Solar to a newly re-slated roof, there are some damaged slates, after several phone calls they have not replied to my phone calls – the manager is never in.
Now they are not answering their phone and the answer phone is full up and not taking any messages.

wunatey says:
10 November 2016

I had the same problem,broken slates,brackets missing,only 1 screw in each bracket where there should be 2,panels misaligned, cabels broken, you name it ,i must have had the cowboys doing my panels,I had them back 7 times in the first 2 1/2 years, I reported them to RECC and MCS, a total waste of time,we should not have any more problems as they are no longer trading as Scottish Solar and their Insurance was only for 2 years so it is a waste of time claiming off the insurance unless it is less than 2 years old.
All the best

linda says:
4 April 2017

hi… my father had solar panels installed by Scottish solar Bathgate few years ago… trying to get in touch but phone lines down now.. do you know what name they are trading under now..? yes he has problems too… thanks..

Simone says:
17 May 2015

Hi we have just quote from Scottish solar and now reading above are worried about letting them do job, anyone else had problems with them

Hi all, thanks for all the comments you’ve been making – they’re really appreciated. However, some of you have broken our commenting guidelines – you can have a read of them here:

https://conversation.which.co.uk/commenting-guidelines

Please do not make your comments personal. We’d like you to share your experiences and thoughts on the topic, and try to be polite to other commenters.

Hello, Mr Collins

Might one assume from your senatorial tone that you are a Mod?
As I’ve already posted a couple of times, to one who is new to this Forum, a statement that a Mod is a Mod would be so very helpful.
Think of it as checking the credentials of a person from a Utility who has arrived to
”Read your Meter, Sir/Madam?”
You take my point, I trust?
Good
Thnx

Georgia says:
27 May 2015

Our experence was similar to Simon’s. Solar Power Scotland were one of the most unreliable companies we have ever had to deal with. The staff turnover was so high, we dealt with new people each time we called. They missed the installation date so often, we simply cancelled. The Government branch dealing with refunds pointed out that the price was far too high for what we required. We eventualy got a full refund from them, but only after appointing a solicitor, and, like Simon, it took years off our life, and plenty of lost time and days off work…
Be very careful which company you use, get references from previous customers…and, read forums like this one!

Stuart says:
16 June 2015

I would not recommend Solar Panels Direct. Totally exaggerated figures from the salesman, totally miss-sold the product. Claimed a return of £683 a year, the reality will be around £150. (£20 for the last quarter (Feb-April)).

Anybody else had dealings with this company?

Debbie W says:
9 July 2015

Yes, feeling very disappointed that we went with SPD and have been waiting for weeks for a response to a written complaint. Panels were installed 2 months ago, just had a replacement inverter fitted after it went down 2 weeks ago, can’t even get hold of them by phone now, wonder if they’re still in business?

Sonia says:
1 September 2015

Our inverter has only just packed in… and SPD seemingly does not exist anymore. Who should we contact to get a new inverter fitted? Could anyone advise?

Sonia, the first thing to check is what is the manufacturers warranty on your inverter as the guarantee stays with the manufacturer and if there is a problem they should replace the inverter under their warranty, and you would have to pay for the labour costs.

Did you get them through finance?

I don’t know about inverters used in conjunction with solar panels, but there are poor quality inverters sold for other purposes. It would not be wise to have a poor quality inverter connected to the grid.

Look for an established company selling inverters with a decent warranty. A well made inverter should last for years.

Sonia – Presumably your solar installation is not all that old so the inverter should not have failed at this point and, under normal circumstances, the installation company would be able to replace it under warranty, or otherwise by virtue of the Sale of Goods Act. However, it seems that your installer, Solar Power Direct, has closed down and cannot fulfill its obligations to you.

You will have two losses: first the cost of replacing the inverter, and second the loss of nett income from solar energy. If SPD has gone into administration or liquidation you can lodge a claim with the administrators/liquidators [usually an accountancy firm or specialist liquidators]. If you cannot find out who is dealing with the company’s affairs, try Companies House.

As an unsecured creditor your claim would rank behind higher priority creditors like the government, banks, employees. There is often nothing left for unsecured creditors so it is advisable to press on with replacing you inverter as quickly as possible but keep all invoices, and keep all records of your feed-in data and receipts.

This Conversation has plenty of examples of solar power companies to avoid; your electricity company might provide a maintenance service or recommend a company to supply and install the replacement. You should inform them anyway that you are temporarily unable to feed any electricity into the grid.

How did you get on with your claim?

Miss weller says:
9 July 2015

Has anyone had dealing with HELMS there are a few things that they have said that I’m not sure about and they said at the first meeting that an independent person came out to survey and check it was worth doing and that we were not being mud lead and the person that came out works for them. We had paperwork Tuesday which was rushed and on reading through not sure if we should cancel. We were told we had 14 day cooling off and they contacted us yesterday ( wed) to fit next Thursday. Has anyone had dealings with this company x

I ‘ve had dealings with Helms. My case along with others is with The Ombudsman they were also featured on BBC Wales X ray.

How did you get on with the case through the Ombudsman

It’s still going on its been delayed because of the volume of complaints.

I ‘ve had dealings with Helms. My case along with others is with The Ombudsman they were also featured on BBC Wales X ray. There are other blogs on line which give further negative comments.

Hi Miss Wells, I work for a independent PV Solar Company Forever Green Energy and my advice is that you should always get at least three quotes before making a decision who to place your order with, and under the code of conduct when a salesman visits your house there should not be any pressure to make a decision on the night and also the first price should be their best price as we are not allowed to discount. For a 4kw system purchased outright you should be looking at about £5k – £5.5k.

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Brian says:
10 July 2015

Hello Doug

I too have my case being investigated by the Energy Ombudsman.
I saw the first BBC Video on the X-Ray programme. I was so much insensed by this that I appeared on the second X-Ray video.

Now I notice on Facebook that Helms are advertising their products.

I know of 4 cases in my area in South Wales under investigation with the Ombudsman

Louise Petchey says:
25 July 2015

Sales advisers are not allowed to put pressure on you to buy , look at RECC the Renewable Energy Consumer Code for full details , check the company out on company check and make sure the company have been around for more then eight years ,, the feeding tariff is coming down and VAT is going up to 20% so a lot of company’s won’t be around for much longer and if the company goes your warrenties go with them ,, they will all offer you an insurance backed policy but this only covers workmanship ,, I looked at 6 company’s and it came down to 1 EEC , the advicer knew his stuff and there was no pressure ,, I would recommend this company and the advicer ,, Andrew Mccarron they are based in southport and are nationwide ,, it’s also worth looking at Which check list on buying solar panels

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Nicola Johnstone says:
28 August 2015

I have been scammed by Helms. They visited my home in 2012 and said that as I worked part time and was in receipt of tax credits that I was entitled to a boiler upgrade and solar panels which would all be funded by the goverment. I now have a court summons to go to court as they say I owe them over £4000. I have contacted a lawyer, made a complaint with trading standards and the Ombudsman services as I was mislead into thinking this was funded by the goverment. It has been a total nightmare and I would strongly advise you not to have any dealings with them.

I have a case with Ombudsman at moment despicable company

.

This is the same as me. I didn’t have the boiler but I have solar panels which I was told were government funded. My bill is on average £80 a quarter higher since having them done. I’ve just sought advice and I’ve been advised to contact the ombudsman. Have you had any joy?

Hiya I ‘ve be informed I should receive decision in next few weeks. I ‘ll post result when I get it

How have you got on with your case against helms?

I m still waiting if you need to contact me if I can assist you please feel free. They are a disgrace. My complaint has been with The Ombudsmen since Feb I think they have numerous complaints about the lovely Helms

Omg since February, I don’t think I can take the stress anymore. I’ve not went to the ombudsman, I’m still waiting my 8week reply. I’ve reported them to trading standards. What result do you want?, I want these panels removed. Are you still paying them or gave you stopped paying them?

I m still paying British Gas were helpful but their “hands were tied”. I want them taken away and a full refund of any money I paid to them. Yours will probably be quicker I think ours were one of the first. They ‘re defiantly known to them now. Plus the fine they had recently has highlighted it further. Don’t give in to them they ‘ll lie and lie.

I’m not giving in, I’m totally stressed don’t sleep an extremity out of pocket from the lies I’ve been told. I wish did more homework before I fell into their trap. I hope you get a result quickly, please keep me posted

I know how you feel. I m calmer now just as determined though. It took over my life for several months. if you need any support. It’s a horrible feeling

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Hiya I know how you feel it’s awful. if you need any support

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If you need any help support send me a pm on Facebook. I know how awful it is

I will let you know when I get a decision. I know how stressful it is. They ‘re conman and liars

I’m probably the only person who’s not on fb so can’t pm you.

I m still waiting

Yes it’s been a nightmare for us stressful and upsetting. Good luck I m sure you ‘ll get the result you want

K. McDonald says:
8 September 2015

I got solar panels fitted by helms 3 months ago, just submitted my readings and the figures do not add up, we r going to be out of pocket each month. They have admitted setting the finance up incorrectly and now cancelled the first agreement and set up a new agreement which I have not signed yet and won’t b signing any time soon until I contact my lawyer. They have totally miss sold this product!!!!!!

I ‘ve had major problems with this company. Have you contacted Trading Standards via Citizens advice.

how have you got on with helms? i think i have been mis sold these panels threw the government fund.

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i have had the same problem with HELMS I was told my feed in tariff would cover the cost of my finance and was not possible for it to not fund itself I met with trading standards today and they are now investigating my case.

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Same thing here

This is more or less the same that has happened to me and numerous people in my area.My complaint has been going on for almost a year. I won’t give up!

My complaint has been with The Energy Ombudsman since Febuary. I would advice you to complain to them if it a Greendeal issue. I d like to say mis selling blatant lies and conning is more appropriate

I thought I was buying into the green deal as that is all he referenced however when my MCS arrived I wasn’t on the green deal I went to the ombudsman but cant deal with my complaint because its not green deal so passed me to trading standards also spoke with consumer rights and confirmed to me that they have committed 2 criminal offenses buy miss selling these to me

trading standards also said because they are a limited company they will no doubt close down and reopen under a different name with all the same directors – has anyone sent there story to BBC rouge traders ?

The directors were involved with a company acquashield roofing who were on Rogue Traders. This company was equally disreputable. I was on BBC Wales x ray which is a consumer programme

was that british solar as I watched it on there website recently once I started to look more into helms – I seen on a blog of more people having problems by them they mentioned about bbc xray wales

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No Helms . The financial ombudsman will prob deal with it as I think it’s mis selling. Helms are known to them. If I don’t get a good outcome from Energy Ombudsman I will go down that route. These people need to be stopped.

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I have been to the local Trading Standards who didn’t appear to be interested at the time.

I agree they most defiantly need to be stopped as too many people are being conned out there hard earned cash I will call the energy ombudsman Monday and lodge my complaint also

Hiya Kay if it wasn’t Greendeal it needs to go to financial Ombudsman. Good luck please post how you get on.

If you need any support you can pm on facebook .

i had helms solar fitted 28th august still no battery fitted ive been promised 30 pound then a device costing 2000 on my gas meter then a further 100 pound ,they said the batteries had come in 3 weeks ago but were duff,ive now sent a letter to them demanding it all be removed by the 16th december as they have not forfilled there part of the contract ,i have not signed anything yet to get the loan payments up and running

Hiya I would report them to Trading Standards as I m sure that they have probably had other complaints.

Don’t sign anything and don’t expect them to remove them by the16th decemeber. I have reported my case to the financial and energy ombudsmen and trading standards.

Stu says:
9 July 2015

Be careful with Solar Panels Direct; salesman just talked a load of bull, grossly exaggerating & manipulating figures.

Debbie W says:
13 July 2015

Solar Panels Direct ceased trading on Fridat 10 July 2015, contact HIES if you require claim forms.

Ric says:
17 July 2015

We have a fault with our solar tubes and have just discovered the company who installed them, Solar Power Scotland, have gone into liquidation. Does anyone know who we can contact to repair the fault?

scotfiona says:
23 August 2015

Regarding solar power scotland guarantee. You should have a guarantee with gpi Ltd of Ayr. But regardless of solar power Scotland’s actions, unless the guarantee is still within time they will refuse to honour it. My install never completed satisfactorily yet as sps never informed gpi, the ombudsman just turned down my case. Gpi apparently kept the rules and treated me fairly. Bang goes another 4grand to fix them.

Sam Stewart says:
3 August 2015

well since no-one comes back to advise on the good jobs, i had Scottish Solar out last monday.

they were here for about 4-5 hours and what a job they made, no mess, wires hidden and the panels look great. we havent had great weather but it says i have ‘made’ £11 for the week which i am happy with.

there even sorting the paperwork for the FIT payments for me. every member of staff has been helpful and I cant be more happy. I will be recommending them to all

andy says:
8 August 2015

I have purchased solar panels and have found out that I am loosing £750 a year and told 2 sales reps that I would have them if they were self funding, they sold me 8 panels for £7900 fitted I have found out that the average price for 8 panels is £3900 I have these on a finance scheme costing me £98 per month but was told that I would be in profit after year 4 and have kept all the reps workings out, I feel very angry about this but before I could contact the company about it they called me to ask how it was going? so I told them lol and that I have spoken to citizens advice and she said she wuld look at my case and the rep no longr works there, I will keep you updated on this and then release the name of company. Thanks Andy

Claire says:
11 August 2015

Hi Andy , We bought our solar panels last friday but reading all this reviews I am just about to cancel this Order. We have been offered 16 panels for £11.500 and we where so naive that we haven’t checked their cost with any others solar panel company. I have a question for you or anybody who know…about it …have you heard anything that the Government is buying energy from you but they wont to cut this down by end of this or next months?
Thank you

Mark jacklin says:
13 August 2015

Hi I had scottish solar out to fit a 16 panel 4kw system just under 3 years ago they were quick tidy and efficient. The system cost £5995 at the time and was comparible with many others. Since fitting the system has produced a 10% return PA on my investment in feed in tarriff alone, this does not take into account the free energy i use from yhe system.
Earlier this month the system stopped generating. I contacted scottish solar as the inverter was still under warranty. 3 days later they had been and replaced the inverter, and we were up and running again. Fantastic service considering i live in the north of scotland

steven says:
19 August 2015

hi mark jacklin.did you use the 8:33 gallium panels.out of interest.what inverter make?

also had solar king quote .not impressed.no options given .tried to push a sale on day.and reluctant to give panel and invertor info wanted £10500 then £8500 for 4kw .

Steven, did you get a reply about the Gallium panels and what inverter was being used? Looks like we are chasing the same basic quote? (although not with any companies mentioned on here). Or if Mark Jacklin is still reading this then same question? Cheers

Same question as Steve had…. Did you end up with Gallium panels and what invertor did they use? Thanks

Steve Roe says:
12 September 2015

Hi I have an appointment with a solar king assessor on monday 14/9/2015. Does anybody else have an comments on solarking? Also are there any links between Solarking and Helms? as the solar king ‘ phone/appointment maker introduced herself as something else along the lines of ‘ Home Energy ‘……….seemed strange to me. Also the door knocking lead chaser had previously worked for HELMS.

Solar Europa T/as First4Solar Gone Bust and are trading with New Company Still using trading Name First4Solar BE AWARE !!!

Philip Holland says:
19 November 2016

Hi I have panels from the gone bust company. The logo for the new company is the same and looks like its the same people. I supposed to have insurance (10 yr inverter and 25 yr panels), but guess what, the insurance company went bust so I appear to be left with having no cover. Hope they last the course! Be aware that guarantees may be worthless.

We used a company called Energy Savings Direct, based in Wales. They contacted us by cold calling, their salesman arrived and spent over 2 and a half hours telling us how much money we would earn and how the panels would pay for themselves, based on the information he told us we made a decision to enter into a contract with them. The fitters arrived a day late, although they were a very good company and not directly employed by ESD, they worked on a contracted basis. On day one the company started chasing us for the money, we could see that the system wasn’t working on day one and phoned the company, they refused to send an engineer until we had paid, foolishly we did so. That’s when it started to get difficult. The company quite clearly are not very technical and kept promising to send a technical man to deal with it, they eventually sent a super salesman, he assured us the system was fine. We did our own research and dealt directly with the manufacturers. Who were brilliant, and helped us to overcome many of the problems. Eventually after 2 mnths of battling we got them to accept the system was at fault and they organised another inverter to be fitted. Now after 3 mnths we have at last got a system that is up and running.very poor after sales service and a company where the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing! Buyer beware, check out the company well before purchase.

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Hi all, an update for you. Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (Helms) has been fined £200,000 by the ICO for making more than six million calls as part of an automated call marketing campaign offering ‘free’ solar panels. http://www.which.co.uk/news/2015/09/record-fine-for-nuisance-calling-company-417493/

The costs will just be passed on in higher charges. The company should have had their phone service withdrawn long ago.

Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd (Helms) has been fined £200,000 by the ICO

And there are many more fines in the pipeline, according to the ICO spokesman on BBC1 today. He mentioned a figure exceeding £1m.

Unless there have been recent changes, companies can both appeal against fines and claim a significant discount for prompt payment of fines.

If the Commissioner receives full payment of the monetary penalty by 27 October 2015 the Commissioner will reduce the monetary penalty by 20% to £160,000 (One hundred and sixty thousand pounds). However, you should be aware that the early payment discount is not available if you decide to exercise your right of appeal.

It would be interesting to find out if HELMS paid their fine by 27 October and saved themselves £40,000.

A better penalty would have been to instruct the telephone service provider to withdraw their service for an appropriate period.

The Helms fine amounts to 3.33p a call. Hardly a punitive amount for all those who have been pestered. And how much business was generated? The company has a net worth of nearly £3M, cash of £641 000. Probably they thought a gamble worth taking?

Increasing the fine to £1 per call would have got their attention and furthermore, make the Directors personally liable for any unpaid fines. More than 1/2 of the companies fined end up being liquidated/struck off before paying.

Reading the ICO’s list of breaches it doesn’t inspire confidence for the future…