The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has expressed concerns about
installers of energy-efficient products using high-pressure tactics to ensure that customers sign up.
Following their investigation the OFT have written to fifty leading installers of energy-saving products to insist that they improve their practices.
The OFT found various problems which ranged from, paperwork issues, to staying in a customers home for up to three hours, to failing to provide information on the customers rights to cancellation.
Energy Saving Installations expected to increase because of the Green Deal
As the Green Deal comes into effect this month this sector of the building industry is expected to experience growth, while the rest of the building industry is suffering from contraction. So it is vital that steps are taken to improve consumer confidence in installers of energy-efficient products.
The Green Deal will allow homeowners to have energy saving work carried out on their house and then pay for that work by adding the cost to their energy bills. We have written more about the Green Deal in our Projects section.
How to Avoid Cowboy Builders
DIY Doctor has been working to help consumers avoid Cowboy Builders for years. we do this with a variety of measures listed under our Home Improvement Protection Solution (HIPS) section of the website.
The information is free and includes a ‘Desired Outcome Contract’ designed to be used by homeowners who are employing builders and installers, there is also information on finding reputable tradesmen through Trust Mark. To help protect your payments there is information about Bond Pay which securely holds the money for the contracted work; only paying the contractor once each stage of the work is completed.
How to stay safe when employing energy-saving installers
If you are considering having energy saving work on your house, then you can read through the information in our Home Improver Protection Solution section to help you employ the right installer for the job. As a brief guide to avoiding a situation where you feel pressured into buying energy-saving products follow these steps:
- Don’t employ cold callers
- Ask friends for recommendations, if they have had similar work to yours
- Ask the installer for references from customers who have had similar work to yours
- Don’t expect an installer to be able to give you a price over the phone
- When booking appointments make it clear you will not decide on the day they call
- Ask about cancellation procedures when booking the appointment
- If the installers seem pushy on the phone don’t book an appointment
- Make appointments with three installers and keep notes on each one, so you can compare like-with-like
- It is a good idea to have someone else with you who can ensure you ask all you should and help you take notes
There is more information on our HIPS package here.
If you want to find out more about the Green Deal we have project pages under our Green Living section which you might also find very useful.