Home improvement scam alert

Property agents should be aware of potential risks and help educate their clients and tenants to be on the lookout for common scams, especially with growing awareness that decarbonising homes is on the UK Government's agenda.

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With the cost of energy rising to unprecedented levels since the beginning of 2022, a number of grants have been launched by the UK Government to install energy efficiency measures, many of which are free of charge to eligible households.  

Whilst many of the schemes are genuine, there has been an increase in scams and rogue traders carrying out substandard installations and charging households for additional payments not agreed in writing. Many local councils have issued warnings to residents to be on their guard and check the details of any scheme and installer carefully before agreeing to any work.

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26 Mar 2020
Avoid online scams to keep yourself safe

There is growing awareness of the need to decarbonise our homes - both for the environmental benefits and to save money on energy bills - and unscrupulous individuals are prepared to take advantage of this willingness to consider new solutions by impersonating legitimate schemes via cold calling, doorstepping and online adverts.

In September 2023 six men were jailed for conning 62 victims out of a total of £10.5 million by selling exterior wall and roof coating products they falsely claimed were ‘guaranteed’ to cure damp and significantly reduce heating bills.

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09 Mar 2022
Be vigilant to fraudsters stealing keys to empty property

Stay safe and be alert to scams

  • Is the company reputable? Before buying anything, check out the company and their website. Read reviews, ask for references, verify the company’s details using external sources, and read any terms and conditions.
  • Check certified schemes. When looking for a trader to use, check certified schemes that recommend traders, like TrustMark - the UK Government’s endorsed quality scheme.
  • Get written quotes and a contract. Try to get quotes from at least three different contractors to ascertain if a fair price has been quoted. Always get a written contract before giving the go-ahead. If something goes wrong it can help to try and get what has been paid for, or at least get some money back.
  • Pay with a secure method. Credit cards offer the most protection, followed by PayPal or debit cards. If paying for large home improvement works, try paying in stages, and avoid paying for costs up-front where possible.
  • Be suspicious. Scammers and rogue traders can be very smart. Take time to make a decision . If contacted out of the blue or the sale is pressured, then it is most likely a scam.

Citizens Advice provides useful information on what to do next if someone has fallen foul of a scam. The can also advise on how get money back, and how to report the scam.