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Trading Standards warns of rogue traders offering home energy product installation in Highlands

By Val Sweeney

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Trading standards officers are warning Highland householders to be on their guard against rogue traders.
Trading standards officers are warning Highland householders to be on their guard against rogue traders.

Unsuspecting householders and health centres in the Highlands are being warned to be on their guard if approached by traders offering funding for the installation of home energy products.

It follows recent reports from two GP practices who have been asked to assess patients for an offer of home energy products under government-funded schemes, implying they are approved by Highland Council when this is not the case.

Highland Council’s trading standards and the climate change and energy team have joined forces to issue the warning following the reports from the Fort William area.

Mark McGinty, the council's trading standards team leader, urged people to be on their guard.

"This is yet again another instance where the complex marketplace for the provision of such products has led to rogue traders seeking to take advantage," he said.

"I’d urge any householder to check first the validity of any scheme, product, installer and payment before entering into a contract, whether it is free or not."

He said it was an offence for any trader to claim to operate under the approval of a scheme without the appropriate approval or authority.

"Highland Council Trading Standards will investigate complaints received and will take appropriate action should any offences be detected," he said.

Highland Council recently published a Statement of Intent for Energy Company Obligation 4 Flex (ECO4 Flex) and Great British Insulation Scheme Flex (GBIS Flex).

To be eligible, you need to be homeowner or private rented tenant and the property needs to have a EPC SAP rating D-G.

The council also says it does not endorse door knocking or cold calling.

The council's website will include information on all live funding opportunities in the region supported by Highland Council and installers approved to undertake work.

Isla MacMillan, project manager in the climate change and energy team, said: "We urge householder’s approached by installers offering energy efficiency measures under the ECO4 Flex or GBIS Flex schemes to check the approved installers list on the council website or email ECOflex.Highlands@highland.gov.uk.

"Installers approved by the Highland Council will not engage in door knocking/cold calling and will engage with households via social media channels or letters to households."

Further information on schemes to provide free home energy improvements can be found by contacting Home Energy Scotland for free on 0808 808 2282. Callers will be given free and impartial advice.

Anyone wishing to make a complaint because they feel they have been misled by a trader offering such work should contact Trading Standards partner agency Advice Direct Scotland on telephone 0808 164 6000 or at www.consumeradvice.scot.

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