Trading standards chiefs warning over energy deals

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West Yorkshire Trading Standards are warning consumers to be wary over traders offering grants and discounts for home energy improvements.

The number of consumer complaints has increased in recent weeks and the service is expecting a further increase with the Government announcing more money is to be released under the Home Improvement Fund to encourage energy efficient measures.

The service has said that there is a trend regarding businesses claiming that they can offer government grants when they are simply inflating their own prices to offer their own discount, with no government grant being on offer.

Councillor Jayne Booth, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee, said: “Please be on your guard and do your checks on the above sites before you sign any contracts with doorstep traders offering discounts for home energy efficiencies”.

Around 81 calls have been made to the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline from West Yorkshire consumers companing about businesses offering energy saving discounts and grants.

Some of the compaints include traders claiming they are from the council, some offering free energy efficiency surveys, offering free solar panels - when consumers are unknowingly signing credit agreements, traders calling in Cold Calling Control Zones and consumers have also experience persistant unwanted calls.

David Lodge Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service said: “The best advice is to not do business on the doorstep, also proceed with caution if called by a trader offering free energy efficiency surveys. The use of a survey is often employed as a technique to generate sales visits. Please phone the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506”.

For impartial Energy Saving Advice please phone the Energy Saving Trust – Energy Saving Advice Line on 0300 1231234.