The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is to support a new consumer code for the sellers of products such as solar energy systems, energy-saving batteries, electric vehicle chargers and other emerging energy-related goods and services.
The ACCC’s New Energy Tech Consumer Code sets minimum standards of good practice and consumer protection and is to apply to all aspects of customers’ interactions with participating retailers, including marketing, finance and payments, warranties and complaints handling processes.
Deputy Chair of the ACCC, Delia Rickard said products like solar panels or battery storage involved significant financial outlays for households.
“This code aims to give consumers more protections and more information to help them make informed purchases,” Ms Rickard said.
“The applicants for authorisation are the Australian Energy Council, Clean Energy Council, Smart Energy Council and Energy Consumer Australia.
“Membership of the code will be voluntary.”
She said signatories to the code would have to comply with its obligations which included avoiding high pressure sales tactics; ensuring advertising was clear and accurate; educating consumers about their rights; and providing clear information about product performance and maintenance.
They should also take extra steps to protect vulnerable consumers, and implement effective complaints handling processes.
“Because the code imposes conditions on the sales practices of competing companies, and includes sanctions for non-compliance, the code’s developers sought ACCC authorisation to ensure they were not breaching competition laws,” Ms Rickard said.