Has someone tried to sell you, or your Gran, a Green Deal scheme?
Scam merchants are everywhere, and now they are even trying to mis-sell Government green incentive schemes in an attempt to separate you and your money.
Investigations across the country, but concentrated in South Wales have discovered a number of less than reputable sorts are deliberately misleading people into signing up for the Government’s Green Deal scheme. The scheme allows you to access funding for energy-efficient home improvements like cavity wall insulation that will (theoretically) reduce your bills. However, the amount funded is actually a loan, and it is repaid by adding a levy to your bills. The idea is that the energy savings will go some way to cancelling out the loan repayment increases to your bill.
Sounds simple in practice. However, a number of cold-calling firms have been neglecting to mention to homeowners that the funding is actually a loan that requires repayment, giving shivering householders the impression that they can be warmer for free.
The firms, who often have the word Green and/or Deal in their name, have been accused of targeting older people, with widespread examples in Swansea in particular. Welsh consumer programme X-Ray launched an investigation following complaints from consumers who said they were under the impression they would get a free new boiler if they paid the assessment fee. An assessment fee that can sometimes be more than small change- like Green Deal Direct customer Julie Hibbert from Ogmore Vale, who paid £359 for a non-free boiler.
When X-Ray researchers posed as customers they were wrongly told that the Green Deal was not a loan and that they qualified for the scheme - even though they needed to have an assessment of their home first. In addition, one of the firms, Green Deal Network - which has refused a comment to BBC Wales – wasn’t above inventing random additional benefits, like a reduction in council tax that would be applied once their homes were made more energy efficient.
Across Wales and England only 219 Green Deal plans have been completed but X-Ray has received more than 250 complaints from viewers who say they have been misled by cold calling companies.