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Portable Solar Panels - Beware Outbax Camping and Maxray

Outbax Camping claim to sell Maxray Solar Panels. The Maxray site shows high quality solar panels. There are no contact details on web page apart from a webform.
https://maxray.com.au/
When one clicks on ‘buy now’ one is directed to the Outbax site, where the product appears identical but is considerably cheaper. The panel received does not match the product displayed, but has a Maxray sticker on the controller. There are no other stickers on the product, unlike the one viewed, and no manual or warranty card. It is different to the Maxray panel in several aspects, including weight. The panel is advertised as having a MPPT controller but has a PWM controller. It is fixed to the unit (instead of attached to panel legs as shown in illustrations). An electronics technician considers the heat sink to be non-functional, as it is not attached to the MOSFETs and deems it liable to cause a fire. I am concerned that the Maxray site might be part of a fraudulent scheme operated by Outbax Camping to pass off imported Chinese panels which do not conform to Australian Safety Standards and are then manipulated to hide this fact.
Typing the names Maxray, Smart Channel and Outbax into a search engine I discovered this document which demonstrates a link between Smart Channel (trading as Outbax) and MaxRay.
It shows that in 2012 both companies were struck off the Business Register in the Virgin Islands (p.1200, p.1300)
[eservices.gov.vg › gazette › sites › files › governmentandstatutorynotices](http://eservices.gov.vg › gazette › sites › files › governmentandstatutorynotices)
I have contacted Outbax who claim the panel was sold as described by their supplier (Maxray). I contacted Maxray who said they would check their inventory and get back to me, which they haven’t.
I have reported this matter to the ACCC.

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Your concerns seem valid as being sold a different product than offered for purchase as well as a possible safety issue with the heat sink as well as suspicions the company(s) could be dodgy.

Please let us know if the ACCC provides any reply excepting an automated one.

If the purchase was recent you should demand a refund, and if it is not quickly forthcoming and you are within your card’s charge back period (you did buy it with a card or paypal, didn’t you?) get a charge back or lodge a dispute. Don’t let them delay until that time has expired! That action can always be reversed if warranted through another charge being put through should your case warrant it.

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Even though Outbax has a .com.au website, it may not necessarily mean it is an Australian company (could be based overseas somewhere) or meets Australian standards for the products it sells.

Looking at their website, like the Maxray one, it is silent on its location/business operating premises.

Outbax is one of the business names operated by SMARTCHANNEL PTY LTD. It appears that SMARTCHANNEL PTY LTD has Australian directors, but doesn’t necessarily mean it is Australian based. The Australian directors may be those paid/nominated to allow them to have an Australian ABN and appear to be an Australian business (e.g. get a .com.au domain)…when in fact it is located offshore.

If they are based offshore, it may be difficult to get a remedy under the ACL and possibly you should approach your payment platform (e.g. paypal or credit card provider) used for the purchase to see if you can get a charge back.

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additional - This post is for consumer information only - I am not having refund difficulties.

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Outbax has some terrible reviews on Product Review.

Whilst there are no reviews for Maxray on Product Review, there are some on eBay, most of which are very good, and with only a single 1 star review.

https://www.ebay.com.au/urw/Maxray-140-Watt-12-Volt-Folding-Solar-Panel-Kit-Caravan-Camping-Power-Mono-Charging/product-reviews/1930384448

Perhaps Outbax are doing a bait and switch as you suspected.

Did you advise Maxray as to the link they provide on their website for Outbax takes you to listings for panels at much lower prices, or provide photos of the actual panels that you received from Outbax?

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I did contact Maxray via the webform early on regarding the controller being different to the one advertised and was told the inventory would need to be checked. This was before Christmas and I have heard nothing back.
If (the generic) you are interested in exploring this matter further, I can tell you that if you click on ‘where to buy’ on the Maxray website three outlets are offered - Outbax, MyDeal and CrazySales. Outbax and MyDeal showed identical stock and similar pricing. MyDeal had different pictures and higher prices. Searching just now I find that all of their Maxray panels have a ‘notify me’ label and they are selling a different brand. This might suggest that Maxray have two grades of panel but I don’t think so - it doesn’t make sense to me. The fact that the website has no contact details or ABN is suspicious in itself. If both companies happened to be discharged from holding business licenses on the same day, in the Virgin Islands, and are not connected in some way is a coincidence then it’s a staggering one.
It is intriguing, in a way, but not enough for me to spend any more time on it. So I repeat my warning - use caution if you deal with these companies. (I have also provided a version of this information to the Grey Nomads site).

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Thanks for providing such good detailed information about your situation @clrintas . Much appreciated.

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I appreciate the acknowledgement, thank you.

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