Citizens Advice has found that in the South West, 65% of adults are thinking about making their homes more energy efficient in the next 12 months. But 36% said they have already been targeted by a green scam.
Citizens Advice in Dorset is taking part in this year’s National Consumer Week to help you know how to stay safe when making your home more energy efficient.
Rovarn Wickremasinghe, Chief Officer, Citizens Advice Bridport, said: “It’s important we know how to stay safe when going green, as scammers have no qualms about playing on the need to do our bit for the environment. If you’re thinking of making your home more energy efficient, take your time doing research, getting quotes and reading reviews. And as always, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We know that being scammed doesn’t just leave us out of pocket, it can leave us feeling very vulnerable, isolated and really knock our confidence.”
“If you’ve been scammed or are worried about how to spot a scam, our advisers are here to listen and help.”
Citizens Advice in Dorset has five top tips to stay safe when making your home more energy efficient:
● Do your research. Before you buy anything, check the company or website you’re using. Read reviews on different websites, 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 Government’s endorsed quality scheme.
● Get written quotes and a contract. Try to get quotes from at least three different contractors to help you decide if you’re getting a fair price. Once you’ve decided, always get a written contract before you give a contractor the go-ahead. If something goes wrong it can help get what you paid for, or at least get some of your money back.
● Pay with a secure method. Credit cards offer the most protection, followed by PayPal or debit card. If you’re paying for large home improvement works, see if you can pay in stages, and avoid paying for costs up-front where possible.
● Be suspicious. Scammers and rogue traders can be very smart. Take your time to make sure you’re happy with your decision - if someone pressures you or contacts you out of the blue, it’s most likely a scam.
If you’ve been scammed, talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment. See Citizens Advice’s page on What to do if you’ve been scammed for more information.
To report a scam or ask for advice contact Citizens Advice consumer service. Offline scams, like telephone, post and doorstep, can be reported via the Citizens Advice consumer service or by calling 0808 223 1133. Report online scams to the dedicated Scams Action service either online or on 0808 250 5050.
Text scams can be reported to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it to 7726. You can also report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
For free, confidential advice and support, call the Dorset Adviceline on 0800 144 8848 or visit www.citizensadvicedorset.org.uk for details of your nearest Citizens Advice.
For more information contact: Sian Smith, Comms Officer, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
About Citizens Advice in Dorset:
Citizens Advice in Dorset provides free, independent, confidential and impartial advice to everyone on their rights and responsibilities to enable them to find a way forward whatever problems they face. We value diversity, promote equality, challenge discrimination wherever we see it and aim to improve the policies and practices that affect people's lives.
Citizens Advice in Dorset is located across three regions:
· Citizens Advice Bridport www.bridportca.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
· Citizens Advice Central Dorset www.centraldorsetca.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848
· Citizens Advice East Dorset & Purbeck www.edpcitizensadvice.org.uk tel: 0800 144 8848