Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards are warning people to be wary of fraudsters attempting to exploit the new Government Green Homes Grant.
The Green Homes Grant is a funding initiative set up to encourage homeowners to invest money in improving the energy-efficiency of their property, while also giving the economy a crucial boost.
Only approved traders can carry out the work and must meet certain criteria before trading. Trading Standards are concerned that the introduction of the Green Homes Grant may lead to an increase in fraudsters and cold callers attempting to scam members of the public.
Ben Newell, Trading Standards Manager, Business Support and Innovation said: “The Green Homes Grant offers a fantastic opportunity to help traders build business and start actively working again after many would have been adversely affected by the recent lockdown measures.
“However, our concern is for those who may be less informed about the scheme. We want to build awareness of these fraudsters and illegitimate traders who might take the opportunity to exploit the trust of the general public.
“There are legitimate steps that have to be followed to gain access to the Government grant and we’re urging people to say no to cold callers and be cautious of offers posted through your letterbox.”
Rufus Gilbert, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for Trading Standards, the economy and Visit Devon, said: “The Green Homes Grant is a great opportunity to both improve the environmental impact of our homes and give our economy and traders a valuable boost. However, with such opportunities, there are those who might try to take advantage of vulnerable or uninformed members of the public.
“You should never have representatives of the scheme coming to your property uninvited or cold calling to encourage you to join the scheme. I would urge everyone to be mindful of potential scams such as this and take appropriate steps to raise awareness, help safeguard yourself, your property, and protect members of your local community.”
To combat the threat, Trading Standards has recently launched a social media campaign to reinforce the steps that should be taken by the consumer and build awareness around fraudsters looking to take advantage of the scheme.
Types of improvement that qualify for the Green Homes Grant are split into primary and secondary measures. The grant 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 remaining grant can be used to help cover the cost of a list of secondary measures which includes double or triple glazing, draught-proofing, and energy-efficient doors.
As well as promoting best practice, we would also like the public to report any traders who have contacted members of the public directly in relation to the Green Homes Grant.
If you see or hear anything suspicious, report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or via the Citizens Advice Website.
For more information about scams, rogue traders and doorstep crime please visit the Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards website.