There has been an increase in reports of scams that target people who need maintenance and energy efficiency works carried out on their homes through social media. Scammers often appear legitimate through the use of ‘buzzwords’, such as ‘bounce-back loans’, and by mentioning official bodies, such as the Government, when in reality they are not even remotely connected.
The places that we live are important to us and ensuring that we are able to affordably heat and maintain our homes is particularly relevant now that we are moving into the colder winter months. Scammers are also aware of the needs that consumers have, and the issues they face when it comes to affording upgrades, repairs, and changes, and use this to their advantage.
There are however many legitimate companies out there who are helping consumers install cost effective, energy-efficient measures in their homes.
It is best to avoid adverts on social media and cold callers when looking into making energy efficiency improvements. By researching the measures that are available and using impartial organisations to carry out assessments of our homes, we can ensure that we are not being falsely lead into agreeing to work that could cost us more in the long run, with potentially sub-standard and dangerous work being carried out.
Home Energy Scotland
Home Energy Scotland offer an impartial assessment and will ask you questions about your home, including your current energy source and the size of the property, and are then able to make recommendations based on your circumstances in relation to grants and funding that are available. They can also help with applications for 0% interest loans from the Scottish Government if you are not entitled to any grant funding.
Home Energy Scotland can be contacted on 0808 808 2282 (Monday – Friday from 8am – 8pm, and Saturday from 9am – 5pm).
If you already know what work needs to be carried out, and have the funds in place to do this, you should shop around to ensure that you are getting the best value for the measures you are having installed.
The Gas Safe Register can provide information on local registered gas engineers using their postcode search at www.gassaferegister.co.uk.
By approaching three trusted contractors and obtaining three separate quotes, you can weigh up your options and find the most cost-effective and beneficial option for you.
Check the details
You should consider the warranties offered on energy efficiency improvements, insurance options that are available, as well as the terms of any credit agreements that may be put in place to pay for work.
By reading the small print before you agree to alterations and upgrades, you can ensure that you are not faced with any nasty surprises further later.
Social Media can be an excellent place to get information and see what options are available, but there is always a risk that you will be faced with scammers and fraudulent activity.
If an offer seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you come across dubious advertisements or pushy salespeople, you have the right to decline their offers or any further contact with them.
If you notice anything suspicious or see a suspected scam, you can report this to consumeradvice.scot by using the Quick Reporting Tool at scamwatch.scot, or alternatively by calling 0808 164 6000.