Solar panel firm under scrutiny for allegedly posting fake customer reviews

Screen Shot 2015-11-26 at 5.03.44 PMA company specialising in the installation of solar panels has been accused of posting fake online reviews with one comparison site banning several “glowing” tributes about the product.

Several reviews praising True Value Solar for its exemplary service have appeared on a site called, with at least one seemingly penned in-house.

Another review site, SolarQuotes, has refused to post reviews for True Value Solar after finding IP addresses from supposedly content Australian customers were based in Macedonia.

Among the names of reviewers who tried to post comments on SolarQuotes were Rodney Trotter, the name of a character from UK comedy Only Fools and Horses, Phat Joe and Piz Problems.

A thread on the whirlpool forum contained several accusations directed at True Value Solar with one purporting to come from SolarQuotes which listed 25 names and IP addresses of rejected reviews.

“Here is a small selection of ‘reviews’ we had submitted to SolarQuotes for True value Solar. Note the IP addresses. They trace back to Macedonia. Suffice to say we did not publish these glowing reviews,” the comment said.

One of the reviews which appeared on productreview was from Mark Helps who wrote he was “so pleased” he had contacted True Value Solar because “they did everything for me, keeping me informed of every step along the way, and the installation was on time and perfectly done.”

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Another suspicious reviewer emailed Helps asking what was the “reward for posting a True Value review.”

The response from Helps read: “We are happy to provide you with a FREE Platinum service of your solar system, normally valued at $199.00 in exchange for a few of your words on We encourage you provide an honest review – as we are confident that with more customers prompted to contribute their thoughts, the more positive feedback we will enjoy!”.

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Digital marketing agency Epik Digital, which lists True Value Solar as a client but has recently stopped working with the company, distanced itself from any suspect practice, angrily rejecting any involvement.

One Epik employee who declined to reveal his name or job title said: “We had absolutely nothing to do with this and would never take part in dodgy practices.”

Calls and emails to True Value Solar had not been answered at time of publication.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Competition (ACCC) has guidelines on fake reviews, warning companies they risk breaching the  2010 Competition and Consumer Act if they do not remove reviews they know to be fake.

Steve Jones 


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