Renewable Energy Cold Callers: No Problem

After the recent record £200,000 fine for a Glaswegian solar panel company who made over 6 million unsolicited cold calls to UK residents, I thought it was about time the pesky issue of renewable energy cold calling was highlighted again.

Have a think… is buying your renewable energy solutions from a cold caller a sensible way to proceed? We have again discovered recently that clients are being called and quoted ridiculous sums (mainly too high!) of money to install renewable energy solutions into their home with little consideration for the appropriateness of the technology.

How to deal with cold calls from renewable installers

Have you answered the phone recently and been introduced to an overly-friendly guy called ‘Matt’ who can’t wait to tell you how great solar PV panels are or how air source heat pumps can “massively” reduce your home heating bills?

If not you won’t have to wait long until some silver-tongued call centre jockey or door knocker comes a-calling when you least expect it.

Unfortunately like any popular product that saves you money and has government subsidies associated with it, there are companies out there who seek to exploit genuine benefits and turn them into overly ridiculous promises or outright lies in order to get you to sign up and make them a quick buck.

With a bit of forethought you can be properly informed to ensure that the sales person at the other end of the phone realises you know more than the average homeowner and will think twice about continuing the often flaky but convincing sales pitch.

Unlike double glazing the world of renewable technology and the products involved cannot be sold over the phone and nor should they. It might work for selling internet provider deals, but cold calling and pressure selling of renewable heating systems or solar panels rarely benefits the homeowner and often results in wasted money and disappointment.

The normal rules about cold calling apply:

  • If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Don’t believe everything a sales person tells you.
  • Don’t be tempted by “unmissable deals”.
  • Always get multiple quotes; the first is rarely the best.

Here are three things that will help you deal with unwanted cold calls, and work out if the caller is worth engaging with and taking up an offer of a free quote:

  1. Be aware of the REAL Assurance and RECC guidelines
  2. Ask them for their MCS accreditation number
  3. Ask for references of satisfied local customers

If they can provide you with the last two pieces of information they will be doing well. If they can’t quote their MCS accreditation number there is the possibility that the company is not accredited, or the person you are speaking to is a call centre employee and has no idea what they are talking about other than the script they have in front of them.

As for references nobody should buy or install a system without them. If you simply state you don’t buy anything without speaking to previous clients that is likely to derail the conversation sufficiently that the caller gives up and wishes you well. If not they will likely have figured out there are easier potential customers to convince, and will find their own way of ending the conversation.

Even after the conversation has ended it’s a win, win for you. Now you have been made aware of a possible investment opportunity and now you have the time to properly research and find out if it is for you in your own time. If the facts are correct and the company that called you has the reputation they claim, then you may well be calling them to find out more!

Have you had issues with cold callers? If so what were you told and what did you do as a result?

Doug Johnson

Doug is a chartered mechanical engineer and has had the pleasure of being involved in the UK renewable sector since 2008. With wide-ranging operational and design experience in both the domestic and commercial sectors across a wide range of recognised technologies he hopes to be able to share his experience to help enlighten and save you hassle along the way.