Citizens Advice is warning consumers to beware of scammers cashing-in on the Green Deal scheme, which aims to make homes more energy efficient.
Seven in 10 of the consumer queries that Citizens Advice receives about the Green Deal are related to scams. The charity reports that some people have lost up to £500 after paying fees for assessments that never happen.
If you are looking at improving your home’s energy efficiency and are considering the Green Deal scheme or want to know how it works, see our Green Deal explained video.
And to see our snapshot assessment of the Green Deal scheme, including some teething problems to look out for, take a look at our Green Deal investigation.
Green deal cold calling
More than half of people caught out by Green Deal scams were contacted out of the blue, either over the phone or by a door-to-door sales person, and offered thousands of pounds worth of home improvements for free.
Consumers have lost up to £500 by paying out for an assessment that has never happened. And in some cases people have been asked to provide their bank details for the assessment fee to be refunded, only to find more money is taken from their account without their permission.
Citizens Advice is calling for a ban on cold calling and doorstep selling of The Green Deal. Its chief executive Gillian Guy said: ‘a ban on cold calling and doorstep selling of Green Deal would help people distinguish between the genuine scheme and a scam’.
If you are unsure what to expect before, during and after a visit from a Green Deal assessor, or simply want to know your rights if a Green Deal assessor knocks on your door unsolicited, check out our Green Deal assessment checklist.
All Green Deal assessors should be authorised with the Green Deal Quality Mark and, while you may be asked to pay an assessment fee, any costs should be explained and a Green Deal Advice Report provided after the assessment.
Check out what you can expect from a Green Deal assessment to make sure you can identify a scam over the real deal.
All authorised Green Deal companies must carry the quality mark and have a unique ID number. If you want to check this, or find yourself in a similar situation to those above, call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234 or Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
Fees never returned
Unrelated to the Citizen’s Advice warning on scams, one Green Deal firm – Let’s Go Green Deal Ltd – is currently under investigation by trading standards, after its customers claimed that it owes them money and can’t be contacted.
Which? member Fred Marshall said he had paid £159 to Let’s Go Green Deal Ltd for a Green Deal assessment last October, but told us he was unable to contact them for the refund he said he was promised. Fred told us: ‘The alarm bells started ringing virtually immediately’.
Manchester trading standards said that Let’s Go Green Deal Ltd was no longer based at the firm’s offices in the city, and it is investigating.
- Discover more about the Green Deal with our Green Deal FAQs
- Unsure of your rights? Check out our consumer rights pages
- Find out more about how to spot a scam