Fraudsters are trying to use the government’s flagship energy efficiency scheme Green Deal to con households out of their hard-earned cash. It’s reported that in some cases, scammers are getting away with up to £500.
Citizens Advice have found that seven in 10 consumer queries they receive regarding the Green Deal are actually about scams.
More than half of people caught out by these Green Deal scammers are contacted out of the blue, either over the phone or by door to door sales, and offered thousands of pounds worth of home improvements for free.
Citizens Advice has found that victims are losing up to £500 after being convinced to pay a fee for an assessment that never goes ahead or, if it does, the company then doesn’t get in touch to do the work.
Upon asking for their money back, victims are then 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 Chief Executive Gillian Guy said:
“The Green Deal is at risk of being undermined by fake firms. With energy prices up by 33% since 2010, households are looking for ways to save money on their bills. Opportunistic tricksters are lining their pockets by ripping-off people who are trying to cut the cost of heating and lighting their home.”
Green Deal – how it works
The Green Deal allows you to get energy efficiency improvements to your property without having to pay up front. You can pay for it by instalments on your electricity bill.
The actual Green Deal system does involve an initial assessment which you may be charged for. The assessor must make clear what you’re likely to pay, before the assessment takes place.
Once you’ve had your assessment you’ll be provided with a Green Deal Advice Report which you can take to any Green Deal provider – so not just the one you gave you the assessment – and they’ll put together a plan based on your needs.
If you agree to the plan, you have the option of paying for Green Deal by taking out a loan with the provider to cover the covers and repay it through your electricity bill.
Some households may be able to get free measures under the Energy Company Obligation. You should not be asked to pay for an initial assessment to receive free measures. For more information see – www.gov.uk/energy-company-obligation