If you buy goods that fail to live up to a salesman's hyperbole, you may be entitled to compensation and should consult a solicitor immediately. In one case, a homeowner who had solar panels installed in the forlorn hope that they would pay for themselves within 10 years was awarded thousands of pounds in damages.
The government was at the time running a green energy incentive scheme by which householders who had solar panels fitted received payments both for generating electricity and for exporting it to the national grid. After meeting with a salesman, the enthusiastic homeowner funded installation of solar panels, which cost £9,200, by entering into a 10-year loan agreement with a finance company.
After the panels failed to meet his financial expectations, he launched proceedings. The supplier from whom he bought the panels having long since entered liquidation, his claim was against the finance company, under the Consumer Credit Act 1974.
In upholding his case, a judge found that the salesman had falsely represented to him that the panels would pay for themselves within 10 years. The finance company conceded that the panels would never have achieved the necessary financial return for that representation to be true.
The salesman, as the supplier's employee or independent contractor, had ostensible authority to make the representation, on which the homeowner had reasonably relied. The judge awarded him £3,160 in damages, that sum representing the difference between the financial benefit he had and would derive from the panels and the greater cost of financing their installation.