Beware of Misleading Marketing Techniques - Bad Deals on Battery Storage in Tasmania
If you live in Tasmania and you’ve recently received a call or letter about a “closed group - testing phase” battery installation offer, be wary. Whitney Electrical & Solar have had multiple reports from our solar customers that a company is now targeting Tasmanian solar owners with misleading marketing. Our team have investigated the offers this company are making and we know they are not being offered in your best interest. Read below for more details and tips on how you can avoid misleading battery and solar deals.
Too Good to be True - Misleading 3kW Battery Marketing in Tasmania
This misleading marketing technique has been making the rounds in Australia for a few years. Those who are interested in installing batteries and aren’t aware of this widespread marketing ploy are vulnerable to this and we at Whitney Electrical & Solar don’t want anyone to get a bad deal on battery storage. A thread on popular Australian forum, Whirlpool, outlines some of the letters received and experiences people have had with the company in question. Some of the most recent posts confirm that letters are now being targeted at potential Tassie customers.
If you think you’ve received a letter about a questionable battery installation and it contains any of the following phrases, chances are you have received one of the letters we are talking about:
- "Closed Group - Testing Phase"
- "Limited testing phase"
Read on for other factors you can use to identify if you’re being misled.
Our own customers and other solar customers in the area have reported receiving phone calls from this company. They have reported:
- Speaking to someone with an Australian accent (i.e. not an overseas call centre).
- The person on the phone used lots of technical jargon and clearly understood solar and battery systems.
- Customers have been quoted varying amounts for a battery installation, possibly based on how much the company thinks they can get away with based on how many questions they are asked, how wary the customer is (i.e. if you don’t know much about solar or batteries, they may take advantage of you. If you know what you’re talking about and ask the right questions they probably won’t push their luck).
The letters and calls reported by our customers are designed and marketed very well to present what seems like an exclusive offer to solar system owners looking to install batteries.
However, the deal is not one we would recommend to anyone. Here’s why:
1. Battery size, price and per watt cost
This company is marketing a cheap Chinese-made 3kW battery. One of our own team members talked with the company over the phone and was quoted $6,180 for the battery which works out at $2.30/watt. When asked if 3kW would be enough, they responded that the battery is modular, meaning multiple batteries can be stacked together, and they could be add another 3kW cheaply in the future.
For comparison, Whitney Electrical & Solar would normally offer similar customers a 9.8kW battery working out to approx. $1/watt. This battery is an LG Chem product, a quality made product from a trusted company. Modular batteries may be ideal for some, but most customers want a product that will last years without requiring an upgrade. Whitney Electrical & Solar offers battery sizes to our customers based on their usage and we take into account that more storage might be needed in the future.
The company even has the audacity to say that they are offering the battery at wholesale pricing and are making no money from it!
2. Warranty and lifetime claims
The company offers a 10 year warranty on the 3kW battery, but claims the battery will last for 16 years.
Every trustworthy dealer you talk to will tell you that lithium-ion batteries have not been around long enough to know if they will last 16 years. Lithium-ion battery technology in residential installation have only been in use for the last decade. This claim stands out to us as a misleading marketing technique not based on any evidence from the solar and battery industry.
3. Benefits over competitors
When asked what benefit the battery system has over other competitor offers, the company claims the modular nature of their batteries and their iP6 rating are the big benefits over other battery deals.
An iP6 rating is a common practice with battery systems and simply refers to whether the battery unit is rated to be installed outside. Modular systems can be an advantage in some incidents however many systems allow multiple batteries to one inverter so not as big advantage as they make out.
We have even had reports from customers that the company offers an astronomical ongoing annual fee for maintenance!
How to Tell if You’re Getting a Good Deal on Battery Storage
Here are three important questions we think you should ask yourself if you get approached about installing battery storage (or solar for that matter):
- Have you heard of the company before? Have you seen their signs locally? Have any of your family or friends heard of them?
- Do you know how they got your contact information? Did you sign up for a newsletter, visit their website or give them a call?
- Are there any reviews or ‘social proof’ of the company online? Have you done a quick Google search? Have you looked for the company on Facebook?
Before you sign up for any battery deal, make sure you have all the facts. Take your time with decisions and don’t let salespeople rush you into anything. Be wary of “limited spots for this deal in your area” - these are most likely companies trying to sign you up fast for a bad deal.
Here’s How We Can Help
Whitney Electrical & Solar can help you understand your battery storage options. You can speak to us on the phone, send us an email or talk to us in person at our showroom in Kingston. Ask around for quotes before you accept a battery storage deal and be wary of offers like the one mentioned above.