Five top tips to stay safe while going green from Citizens Advice Oldham
Date published: 06 December 2021
Over 40% say they've been victims of a scam
Citizens Advice has found that in the North of England 72% of adults are thinking about making their homes more energy efficient in the next 12 months.
But 40% said they have already been targeted by a green scam.
Citizens Advice Oldham 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.
Jonathan Yates, Chief Officer of Citizens Advice SORT Group, covering Stockport, Oldham, Rochdale and Trafford 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 Oldham 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.
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.
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.
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