Who can sell or install solar panels

Many home owners are making choices to cut down their energy use and reduce their energy bills. As solar panels have increased in popularity businesses have sought to tap into this growing market.  Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is reminding suppliers that if you install solar panel systems, or you sell systems that include installation, you must be licensed. The electrical work must always be performed by a registered electrician.

If the installation includes structural building work (e.g. modifying/reinforcing roof framing or integrating the solar panel system with a pre-existing structure) then you must hold a building work contractor’s licence and the work must be supervised by a registered building supervisor.

If the installation does not include structural building work you can hold either:

  • an electrical contractors licence, or
  • a suitable building work contractor’s licence – such as a builders licence endorsed for ‘PV Solar Panel installation’, or a more general category of building work as long as the solar panel installation fits within your endorsed category.

In 2016 a company was fined $46,575 after it failed to inform customers of their cooling off rights for unsolicited sales, failed to attend compulsory conciliation conferences with CBS, and contracted for electrical work while unlicensed in South Australia. This serves as a reminder to anyone who installs or sells solar panels including installation to comply with licensing and consumer law requirements.

By law, a business that contracts for the installation must provide warranties to cover:

  • quality of materials and workmanship
  • compliance with plans, specifications and legal requirements
  • completing the work within a specified time or a reasonable time
  • meeting the end result that was requested.

Claims against a statutory warranty can be made up to 5 years after the work was completed. However you may be liable for defective building work under the Development Act 1993 for 10 years.

Consumer guarantees under the Australian Consumer Law also apply.  If the panels are not of acceptable quality, not fit for purpose, do not match the description given by the supplier, or were not installed with an acceptable level of care and skill and within a reasonable period of time, the consumer is entitled to a remedy (e.g. refund, repair, or having the panels replaced).

CBS has developed a guide for solar installers which outlines responsibilities in relation to licensing requirements, quotes, contracts, payments and when building indemnity insurance is required. CBS also has a guide for consumers to help them make an informed choice before purchasing a solar panel system.

For more information see the ‘Guide for solar panel installers’ or contact CBS on 131 882.

Warning about the use of inflatable air loungers in water – media release

SA’s Consumer and Business Services (CBS) is warning consumers against using inflatable air loungers in water following reports of near drownings.

Inflatable air loungers are fabric tubes that are inflated to form a lounge or bed. They can be used as an alternative to other furniture, and may have an internal plastic liner in addition to an external covering.

Inflatable air loungers may also be marketed as air sofas or inflatable furniture under a range of brand names, including being sold online and from overseas suppliers.

There have been a number of reports of the lining of inflatable air loungers splitting while being used in water, presenting a drowning hazard.

These reports are being reviewed by Commonwealth, State and Territory product safety regulators under the leadership of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Product safety regulators have met to review safety concerns, and are making enquiries with relevant suppliers, international product safety regulators and others to help inform and implement an appropriate response to any product safety concerns.

At this time, product safety regulators including CBS are warning consumers not to use inflatable air loungers as flotation devices in water, including in pools.

Adults are urged to take steps to remove inflatable air loungers from locations in or around water (including pools) and to ensure they are not used by children as flotation devices.

Consumers are encouraged to report any incidents resulting from the use of an inflatable air lounge online to the ACCC via the Product Safety Australia website or contact CBS on 131 882.

Warning about the use of inflatable air loungers in water (PDF 90KB) – media release


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Business director admits to unlicensed motorbike sales – CBS News

A 39-year old southern Adelaide man has admitted being a director of a business that sold second hand motorbikes without a licence.

In the Christies Beach Magistrates Court, Vlastimil Krejcir admitted being a director of Two Wheel Recyclers, a Hackham-based business that repaired and sold second hand motorcycles.

The business’ licence was cancelled in 2014 due to non-payment of the licence fee, and Krejcir failed to get it renewed.

Krejcir admitted to selling nine motorcycles within a 12 month period, ranging in value from $500 to $3400.

He was convicted and fined $2100.

Acting Commissioner for Consumer Affairs George Kamencak said the prosecution was a timely reminder for all second hand vehicle dealers.

“Regardless of whether it’s intentional or inadvertent, it’s illegal to sell four vehicles or more a year without a licence,” he said.

“I’d urge all used vehicle dealers to check their licences to ensure they’re still valid or – if they’ve lapsed – ensure they get renewed as soon as possible.”

People wishing to check the status of their licence can contact CBS on 131 882.

Christmas shopping tips

Whether you’re considering toys, gift cards, concert tickets or some other type of gift, here are some helpful tips to help you shop smart this Christmas.

  • Research and compare deals – check independent reviews
  • Online shopping – use secure and legitimate websites
  • Toys – buy safe and age appropriate
  • Gift cards – check the terms, conditions and expiry date
  • Event tickets – use authorised sellers to avoid being scammed
  • Extended warranties – find out if it offers you any benefit in addition to consumer guarantees
  • Refunds – check the retailer’s refund policy, you may not be able to return or exchange for change of mind

Christmas shopping tips information sheet (PDF 128KB)

Unlicensed builder accused of consumer law breaches – CBS News

A 39-year-old Adelaide man has appeared in court accused of breaches of South Australian building laws and Australian Consumer Law.

Consumer and Business Services has taken action against the man, alleging he was working without a licence – accepting payment to carry out work on six properties where he either did not start or did not complete the work.

The matter is due to return to the Adelaide Magistrates Court early in the new year.

New protections for business from unfair contract terms – CBS news

From 12 November 2016 small businesses will be protected from unfair contract terms when they are offered a contract on a take it or leave it basis.

A term may be unfair if it:

  1. Allows one party to unilaterally vary key aspects of the contract in an unconstrained manner.
  2. Gives potentially broad and unreasonable powers to the supplier to protect themselves against loss or damage at the expense of the small business, by imposing broad indemnities or excessive limitations of liabilities.
  3. Gives the supplier an unreasonable ability to cancel or end a contract as it suits them.

The law only covers standard form agreements between businesses where:

  • one of the firms employs less than 20 people; and
  • the contract is worth up to $300,000 in a single year or $1 million if the contract runs for more than a year.

If you think a term in your contract is unfair

  • Talk to the contract provider and ask them to amend or remove the term.
  • Contact the Small Business Commissioner (SA) for advice.
  • Contact the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) small business helpline on 1300 302 021 or lodge an online complaint form
  • For unfair terms in relation to financial products and services, contact the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) on their general enquiries helpline on 1300 300 630
  • Talk to a lawyer about your options.

For more information on unfair contract terms visit accc.gov.au/uct

Unlicensed car dealer cops $3250 fine – CBS News

A 65-year old Elizabeth South man has been fined $3250, after admitting to selling used cars without a licence.

Under South Australian consumer protection laws, people need a second hand vehicle dealer’s licence if they sell more than four cars over a 12 month period.

In the Elizabeth Magistrates Court, Gary Williams admitted to selling 17 used cars within a 12 month period, and breaching an earlier undertaking to refrain from selling second hand vehicles.

The court heard each of the cars was worth less than $1000, and the level of profit was minimal.

Williams was fined $3250.

New policy for Compliance and Enforcement – CBS News

Consumer and Business Services has released its Compliance and Enforcement Policy, highlighting CBS’ priorities and the principles that will guide its approach to supporting consumers and investigating complaints against businesses and traders.

The policy highlights CBS’ increased focus on prevention through education and empowering consumers to exercise their rights, while ensuring businesses are aware of their legal obligations.

The policy outlines guiding principles for the range of disciplinary actions that CBS can take when a business or trader breaches the law.

Priority areas for CBS include gaming machine regulation, the building industry, charities, hairdressers, the hospitality sector (through liquor licensing), plumbers, gas fitters, electricians, real estate agents, conveyancers, used car dealers, security agents and tattoo parlours.

CBS Compliance and Enforcement Policy


Information for Homestead Homes customers – CBS news

Consumer and Business Services has been advised that Home Australia Group has gone into liquidation.

In South Australia, the business has been operating in South Australia under the brand Homestead Homes.

Where people still have homes under construction through Homestead Homes and they have a certificate of insurance, they should contact insurer QBE directly on 1300 790 723 to begin the claims process.

Where individuals either don’t have a Certificate of Insurance, or believe they are owed money by the company, they should contact the liquidator, McGrathNicol, via email at Home_Aust_Creditors@mcgrathnicol.com or on 03 9038 3100.