Citizens Advice: How to protect yourself from ‘green’ scams

Kirklees Citizens Advice team gives top tips on what you can do to protect yourself and help the planet.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 11:30 am
Updated Thursday, 16th December 2021, 1:11 pm

Chief executive Nick Whittingham writes: Citizens advice have just finished their National Consumer Week, a week of campaigning that provides knowledge and confidence to us when making a decision to buy something.

This year’s campaign focused on green energy and energy saving, providing information to consumers on what to look out for and what we can do to be more ‘green’.

With the COP26 climate conference having just taken place, it’s important that we all take steps to become more environmentally friendly. This could be by making our homes more energy efficient, or just being more aware of what needs to be done to meet the ‘net zero’ carbon targets set by the Government.

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BEWARE OF SCAMS: Be wise to being green

This can be confusing, and has led to a significant rise in ‘green scams’, with scammers taking advantage of the uncertainty consumers are facing. Below we have some top tips on what you can do to protect yourself and help the planet.

Three steps to being a confident green consumer:

1. Do your research!

Before you buy anything, check the company or website. Try and look at some reviews, or check a few different websites first.

If you’ve decided to get some home improvements done, say a new energy efficient boiler or cavity wall insulation, try and get a few different quotes before you buy. Make sure all of your quotes are written down and the work is being carried out by somebody certified (like the Government’s ‘Trustmark’ scheme).

2. Take steps to protect yourself

If you can, always get a written contract as this will help you get some money back if things go wrong. If possible, paying with a credit or debit card will also offer you some protection.

Be suspicious – if something seems too good to be true, it probably is! Scammers and rogue traders are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are taking advantage of the current energy situation. Take your time deciding until you’re happy – if you’re being pressured, it’s most likely a scam.

3. Get more advice

Talk to the friends and family you trust. If you need more help, you can contact the Citizens Advice website at http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/energy, or call the consumer team on 0808 2231133.

The Local Welfare Provision team at Kirklees Council can provide support if you’re experiencing hardship and have an immediate need, including help towards your energy costs and many other issues. Contact them on 01484 414782, or [email protected]

Our website’s research and campaigns page has information regarding the different schemes to help you heat your home and how to get financial help to do so, along with many other topics and tips.

Kirklees Citizens Advice and Law Centre helps thousands of people each year. We can help you handle any problems which might arise relating to employment, housing, debt, benefits and more.

See our website at http://www.kcalc.org.uk, or call our telephone advice line on 0808 2787896 (freephone) open Monday to Friday, 9am until 4.30pm.