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Council issue warning against traders offering home energy installations

By Niall Harkiss

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Householders across the Highlands are being urged to be on their guard if they are approached by traders offering funding for the installation of home energy products.

Highland Council’s Trading Standards and the Climate Change & Energy Team are joining forces to issue the warning following recent reports that there may be traders operating in the area.

Reports say traders have been offering free insulation, and heating and funding for solar panels or air source heat pumps, under Government funded schemes, saying they are working on behalf of Highland Council when this is not the case.

Mark McGinty, Trading Standards team leader at Highland Council, said: “This is a difficult situation for householders as there are genuine home energy schemes available to have products such as roof or wall insulation, boilers or solar systems installed for free or at a reduced cost.

"Unfortunately, this is a complex marketplace and that has led to rogue traders who have appeared on the doorstep willing to take advantage. This in turn leads to complaints from those feeling misled when they realise what they have got is not necessarily what they thought they were getting. I’d urge any householder to check first the validity of any scheme, product, installer and payment before entering into a contract, whether it is free or not.”

Highland Council has stated that it does not currently have an active Energy Company Obligation (ECO) Statement of Intent (SoI). People are advised that if they are approached by an installer offering ECO funded energy efficient improvements to your property, they should email ECOflex.Highlands@highland.gov.uk to confirm.

The local authority has also reaffirmed that it does not endorse ‘door knocking’/ ‘cold calling’.

Householders are asked to check the Highland Council website for further information. The website will include information on all live funding opportunities in the Highland region supported by Highland Council and installers approved to undertake works.

Mr McGinty added: “It is an offence for any trader to claim to operate under the approval of a scheme without the appropriate approval or authority. Highland Council Trading Standards will investigate complaints received and will take appropriate action should any offences be detected.”

Further information on schemes to provide free home energy improvements can be found by contacting Home Energy Scotland for free on 0808 808 2282 callers will be given free and impartial advice.

If you wish to make a complaint because you feel you have been misled by a trader offering such works you should contact Trading Standards partner agency Advice Direct Scotland on telephone 0808 164 6000 or at www.consumeradvice.scot.

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