New South Wales Fair Trading Minister Anthony Roberts and Energy & Water Ombudsman Clare Petre are warning consumers to be wary of telemarketers selling energy saving devices.
Mr Roberts urged consumers to consider carefully before spending money on energy saving devices.
“Whilst legitimate energy monitoring devices may help consumers save money, claims of 40 percent reductions in power bills are unsubstantiated,” Mr Roberts said.
“Telemarketers and other businesses who claim consumers can make significant savings on their power bills by using these devices can be required to prove these claims, or face significant penalties under the Australian Consumer Law.”
Mr Roberts thanked Ms Petre for alerting Fair Trading to a particular device (pictured below) being marketed to consumers around Sydney in recent weeks.
“The telemarketers claim to be from a government agency and tell consumers they will receive a refund from the government within a few weeks of their purchase,” Ms Petre said.
“One consumer who purchased the ‘energy saving box’ for $219 thought the device was a scam as soon as he opened the box. He has provided the device to the Ombudsman and NSW Fair Trading for testing.”
Mr Roberts said Fair Trading was urgently testing the device to determine exactly what it is and if it poses any danger to consumers.
“Preliminary advice is that the device does not meet minimum safety requirements under Australian standards,” the Minister said. “Telemarketers are preying on understandable and legitimate community anxiety about electricity prices. My advice is to not purchase this particular device. If you have already done so, stop using it and contact Fair Trading on 13 32 20.”
Ms Petre said EWON had received three official complaints in recent weeks about telemarketers selling a device to reduce electricity bills by 30 to 40 percent.
“Two complainants bought the devices,” she said. “One consumer told us many of his friends had also been called, that the caller spoke in Farsi and appeared to be targeting the Afghani community. All consumers are at risk, however, and members of different communities have been approached.”
High resolution photographs of the device are available.
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