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'Why won't they leave us alone?' - widow targeted by string of solar firms

PUBLISHED: 11:14 18 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:41 04 November 2019

Kathleen Lynch with her son Justin outside her house in North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Kathleen Lynch with her son Justin outside her house in North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A widow has hit out at solar panel firms who have continuously attempted to charge her for new products since she had panels installed.

Kathleen Lynch says she has been contacted by several companies regarding her solar panels, North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodKathleen Lynch says she has been contacted by several companies regarding her solar panels, North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Kathleen Lynch and her late husband Alan bought panels from energy firm MyPlanet for their North Walsham home in 2014.

The retired teacher said since then she has been contacted by firms offering improvements, servicing, and no-win, no-fee compensation schemes - which appear to be connected to the original seller.

Mrs Lynch said: "It's been an absolute nightmare. I don't want them to get to anybody else.

"It's elderly people who think they need it who spend the money. Why won't they leave us alone?"

Kathleen Lynch says she has been contacted by several companies regarding her solar panels, North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodKathleen Lynch says she has been contacted by several companies regarding her solar panels, North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Mr Lynch said her husband bought the panels believing they would eventually be self-funding.

But MyPlanet later went bust, with Companies House documents showing the firm collapsed in 2016, owing £1.5m to 20 creditors.

The couple were sold extra panels in 2017 by Thermomagic, but Mrs Lynch was refunded £450, from the £600 deposit, after her son contacted boss Lee Bevan.

In an email, Mr Bevan, listed as Thermomagic's sole director, said he used to work with MyPlanet, but denied owning the company.

Justin Lynch outside his mother's house in North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie HoneywoodJustin Lynch outside his mother's house in North Walsham. PICTURE: Jamie Honeywood

Mrs Lynch then said she was visited by a third firm called Green Consulting South Ltd, who said a burnt convertor would cost £3,800 to replace.

Her son, Justin, asked a friend who works in green energy for a second opinion, and was told the equipment was simply turned off.

Mr Bevan is listed as a director of Green Consulting South Ltd.

Then in January, Mrs Lynch received a letter from a fourth firm - Resolved Claims Ltd - claiming to represent "hundreds of MyPlanet customers who have been missold solar PV systems".

The letter claimed more than £2m had been recovered to date.

Resolved Claims Ltd lists Peter Rogers as a director, while his LinkedIn profile calls him a senior technical consultant at MyPlanet.

Mrs Lynch informed Norfolk police and trading standards and a police spokesperson said: "We were called on January 2 by the victim reporting a suspicious person at her address in North Walsham. She was advised to call 999 if the person attended again."

A Essex Trading Standards spokesperson said they were notified and weren't investigating, but had "real concerns" about some firms in the solar energy sector.

A spokesperson for Resolved Claims refused to comment. Mr Bevan did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Trading standards warn about solar and green energy sector tactics

Essex Trading Standards warned people to be aware of companies claiming:

- Affiliations with original installers or having taken over their work;

- Affiliations with or calling on behalf of Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS), or a government scheme;

- The call was to arrange a health or warranty check when the purpose is the sale of equipment;

- Equipment would boost solar panel output, make money for the consumer, increase efficiency or provide free electricity;

- Existing equipment was malfunctioning or posing a fire risk or new equipment was necessary to prevent fire;

- The fire service would not attend and failing to purchase might impact warranty and insurance claims;

- Equipment is not working, is inefficient, or would cause system failure;

- Maintenance contracts cover all equipment and last 10 or 20 years;

- Or repeat targeting elderly and vulnerable victims.

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