North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team are reminding consumers to be wary of rogue traders trying to take advantage of the new government’s new Green Homes Grant scheme.
Announced in August, the scheme was set up to help homeowners and landlords make their homes warmer and more energy efficient.
The grants cover green home improvements ranging from insulation of walls, floors and roofs, to the installation of low-carbon heating, like heat pumps or solar thermal – measures that could help families save up to £600 a year on their energy bills.
People can find out more about the scheme at www.simpleenergyadvice.org.uk.
Only tradespeople with a government-backed seal of approval can carry out work under the scheme.
Consumers can check for registered traders at www.trustmark.org.uk/find-a-tradesman.
TrustMark is the government-endorsed quality scheme covering work a consumer chooses to have carried out on their home.
Types of improvement that qualify for the grant are also split into primary and secondary measures – the voucher must be used to install at least one primary measure which can be insulation and/or low carbon heating. After at least one primary measure has been installed, the voucher can be used to help cover the cost of a list of secondary measures, which contains things like double or triple glazing, draught-proofing and energy efficient doors.
But trading standards officers are concerned the door may be left open for rogue traders to exploit the trust of consumers who just want to access a voucher to get home improvements made cost-effectively.
Please remember the following:
- Apply for a voucher first – not all improvements are in the scheme
- Don’t pay a deposit before you apply for your voucher, you may not be entitled to funding
- Pay your portion of the bill by credit card, you get extra consumer protection
- Don’t fund fraudsters, do your homework and support good traders
- If you are cold called about having work done on your home or business, just say no.
Cllr Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for Safer and Stronger Communities at North East Lincolnshire Council, said:
“The Green Homes Grant is a great way to help households and traders, who will have been affected by the lockdown.
“But criminals are known to target new government initiatives like this so that they can sound believable on the doorstep. It is an age-old confidence trick.
“If you’re thinking of having work done, make sure you do your research.
“Be wary of anyone who knocks on your door, posts an offer through your letterbox or cold calls you over the phone saying they are working on the scheme.
Tradespeople must register for TrustMark or Microgeneration Certification Scheme (MCS) accreditation to take part.
Visit www.gov.uk/guidance/green-homes-grant-scheme-register-as-a-certified-tradesperson-or-business for more details about how to register.
Report suspected rogue traders online at www.nelincs.gov.uk/scams or call Citizens Advice on 03444 111 444.