Beware of rogues claiming to be part of Green Deal scheme
West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service is warning consumers to be alert for telephone and door step scams offering the Governments new ‘Green Deal’.
February saw the launch of the ‘Green Deal’ scheme. Under the scheme, householders are able to finance home improvements to make their homes more energy efficient, with no upfront costs. Repayments are made through the household energy bill over a period of time, the ‘Golden Rule’ being that the expected financial savings must be equal to or greater than the costs attached to the energy bill. Following an assessment, authorised providers carry out work which may include a new central heating system, loft insulation, double glazing etc.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards has already dealt with 12 complaints since the launch of the scheme, including cases where residents have received unsolicited phone calls or have been visited by door-to-door salespeople allegedly offering the new ‘Green Deals’, or claiming other government grants are available.
Examples of complaints include:-
A consumer who had recently installed new double glazed windows in her property, only to be contacted by another trader who told her that the new windows needed condemning and replacing, a quote was given which included a discount for a supposed government grant.
A consumer was cold called by a trader purporting to be from the Energy Saving Trust, offering solar panels, claiming that the scheme was government backed. When the consumer checked with the genuine company they informed the consumer that that the Energy Saving Trust do not make cold calls to consumers.
On a different occasion a consumer received an un-solicited telephone call offering free solar panels. The consumer agreed to a visit, only to be told that the solar panels would cost £8,000. The company then tried to persuade the consumer to enter into a finance agreement to pay for them.
A 76 year old woman complained that she had been offered an “old age pensioner discount” for double glazing. The trader offered a 20% discount, which was only available if she ordered that day.
Other recent tactics used by traders include:-
- Offering grants through the Energy Saving Trust
- Claiming huge energy savings for installing solar panels and air to water heating systems
- Offering free Home Energy Surveys
- Offering double glazing as part of a government run scheme
The message from Trading Standards is that consumers should not contract with anyone calling door-to-door.
The ‘Green Deal’ is only delivered through government contracted assessors and providers.
These contractors are identified with unique numbers which have been allocated to them, details of these can be found at www.gov.uk/green-deal-energy-saving-measures or by calling 0300 123 1234.
Graham Hebblethwaite, West Yorkshire’s Chief Trading Standards Officer, said “We are encouraging residents to thoroughly check the legitimacy of such service providers – always do an independent check with the Green deal and the Energy Saving Trust, and to never pay any money up front before having an opportunity to check out the business.”
Councillor Neil Taggart, Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee, which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said “Remember you have a 7 day cooling off period for contracts made in your home. However do not feel pressured into signing anything in your own home, based on special one day offers.”
Notes to the Editor
For more information please contact David Lodge on 0113 393 9704 / email@example.com or Carolyne Dollins on 0113 393 9875 / firstname.lastname@example.org.
18 March 2013