Trading Standards teams across the North of Scotland are warning unsuspecting householders to be on their guard if they are approached by individuals offering to install home energy products.
This follows recent reports that there may be traders operating in the area, offering free insulation works under Government funded schemes to properties without the formal approval required to do the works.
Trading Standards teams within Orkney Islands Council, Highland Council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and Shetland Islands Council have all received such reports.
Gary Foubister, OIC’s Trading Standards manager, said: “This is a complex market and there are many home energy grants available to householders to have products such as roof or wall insulation, boilers or solar systems installed for free, some even offering future payments to the recipient.
“This has led to an increased volume of complaints over the last few years from householders who feel they have been misled on their doorstep when they realise what they have got is not necessarily what they thought they were getting.
“Also, it is an offence for any trader to claim to operate under such a scheme without the appropriate approval or authority. Alongside my colleagues in the other Councils, we are investigating the reports we have received and will take appropriate action should any offences be detected.”
He added: “I’d urge any householder to check first the validity of any scheme, product, installer and payment before entering into a contract, whether it is free or not.
“We are aware of rogue traders operating and with that comes the now usual practices of misleading the householder into agreeing for works and poor workmanship. This can leave the householder having to foot the bill to repair any damage caused.”
The Councils involved are currently working with installers to deliver energy efficiency improvements to properties. For Orkney, the approved schemes are delivered by Firefly Energi (Orkney) Ltd.
If you are approached by an installer who claims to be working with a Council, please confirm the validity of this by contacting Home Energy Scotland. The Council scheme operators adopt a no cold calling policy and initial communication will be by letter not a knock on the door.
Further information on schemes to provide home energy improvements can be found by contacting Home Energy Scotland for free on 08088082282. Callers will be given free and impartial advice.
Orkney householders can also receive free and confidential advice, and assistance, if they feel that they have become a victim of an energy scam by contacting the Council’s Trading Standards Team on 01856873535 or by email.