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UncategorizedScots have lost well over £80,000 on Energy Marketing Scams – What...

Scots have lost well over £80,000 on Energy Marketing Scams – What can you do to stay safe?

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Scots have fell foul of dishonest energy marketing companies the Scottish Trading Standards recently revealed, resulting in many victims losing thousands of pounds.

Photo by Sies Kranen on Unsplash
Photo by Sies Kranen on Unsplash

In recent years, the Scottish Government have aggressively pursued their carbon-neutral goals and continue to tackle fuel poverty with the likes of energy efficiency grants and funding.

Unfortunately, the frequent changes in what is available have caused considerable confusion and made it easy for scammers to take advantage of the situation.

In many cases, the scammers are reported to ask for payments upfront with the promise that the money will be returned. Others simply over-inflate their prices and add a ‘discount’, which they claim is equal to the government funding available.

Misleading adverts on social media are also widespread, with Trading Standards having successfully identified over 400 misleading advertising campaigns.

Since the announcement of the Green Homes Grant, there has been a marked influx of social media adverts with false claims or that are misleading stating that grants were available to Scottish consumers for products such as boilers, doors, and windows

Many of the scammers also took advantage of lockdown messaging, using slogans such as ‘lockdown bounce back programme’ to attract more attention.

Yet the reality is that many of these companies are lead generation companies, which aim to collect personal data to sell it for a profit.

In the final quarter of last year Trading Standards reported a number of cases that have resulted in combined losses of over well £80,000, so the reality is bound to be much worse.

What can you do to avoid the scammers?

Before committing to any type of home improvement, here are some of the main steps you can take to avoid being scammed:

Be cautious of adverts and claims made on social media adverts

Many unscrupulous companies are active on social media and will make wild claims about what they are offering and what is available. Never accept the claims without doing your own independent research.

Be cautious of any information you provide from these pop-up style adverts, as they may be designed to collect your data to sell it to cold calling companies.

Ask what insurances are provided if something goes wrong

Before getting any work done on your home, make sure to ask the provider what type of assurances are offered if something goes wrong down the line. For example, warranty periods, lengths, and terms.

Before signing any contracts make sure you have read it in full including the small print. Don’t forget, you are legally entitled to a 14-day cancellation period for any product or service over £42.

Check grants and funding available in your area

Don’t rely on a third-party company to always be transparent, instead check what grants and funding may be available in your area, Heatable also have a useful guide on what current funding is available in the UK.

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