About twenty years ago, I bought a pair of speakers from a fast-talking man in a white van. Apparently, he was over-delivered one set of these ‘reference’ monitors, and just wanted to make a few dollars from a quick sale.
Greed blinded me to the obvious warning bells that should have been ringing. If I’m honest, the thought of being singled out for this special treatment and getting a better deal than everyone else also appealed to my 20 year old ego.
But in today’s parlance: I got served. My ‘$2000’ speakers (which I handed over a week’s pay for) weren’t worth the chipboard that the wafer-thin laminate was disguising. The closest thing I ever got to satisfaction from these speakers was breaking them up with a claw hammer to fit in the garbage bin.
If I hadn’t learnt from this experience, it truly would have been a waste. Many times since however, I have been faced with similarly questionable scenarios and had the hard-won sense to walk away. I hate to overuse a cliché like this, but if something looks too good to be true, it usually is.
Fast forward to 2011, and hundreds of solar companies and individuals experienced a similar sinking feeling when news of the collapse of rogue REC agent Well Being Green broke. Using scarily similar tactics to my friend in the white van, Well Being Green began offering rates significantly above the market price, in an apparent bid to tempt more clients on board before collapsing spectacularly, owing solar businesses an estimated seven million dollars.
Thankfully, our solar industry is now older, and a lot wiser. Now, when a solar company is offered a price for STCs they think is too good to be true, they check one of the many free sites which list the current market spot price. Then they do some sums…
…then they think about the cost of running an office, insurances, accountants, wages and rent, and they wonder how a business can trade on less than no margin.
And then they don’t walk away. They run.